Rising demand for sexual health services

It says the surge in demand is happening at the same time as cuts to funding for councils’ vital public health services.

Latest figures show there were 3,323,275 attendances at sexual health clinics in England in 2017, up 13 per cent on the 2,940,779 attendances in 2013, which is the equivalent of an extra 210 a day or 1,471 a week.

prophylacticsThe total number of sexual health screens (tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV) has risen 18 per cent during this time period, from 1,513,288 in 2013 to 1,778,306 in 2017.

The LGA says that government cuts to councils’ public health budgets have left local authorities struggling to meet increased demand for sexual health services. Some people are having to be turned away from clinics because all appointments for that day are fully booked.

The LGA is urging government to reverse £600 million in public health cuts to help councils meet rising demand for sexual health services and prevent people from experiencing potentially longer waiting times and a reduced quality of service.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “While it’s great to see a huge increase in people taking their sexual health seriously, this rising demand is pushing some councils’ sexual health services to peak capacity levels, which are not sustainable in the long term.

“Demand for sexual health services has risen successively for the past five years, and there is a real risk of waiting times increasing and patient experience deteriorating.

“Cuts to public health funding need to be reversed, as this could affect councils’ ability to meet further increases in demand and respond to unforeseen outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections.

“While it’s good news that diagnoses  of sexually transmitted infections have  fallen, it will be hard to maintain this progress, with some sexual health services  at breaking point.”

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