Sexual health services ‘at breaking point’

Increased demand at the same time as historic reductions to local public health budgets are putting sexual health services at risk of a breaking point, the LGA has warned.

New figures published by the UK Health Security Agency show diagnoses of certain sexually transmitted infections doubled last year.

Gonorrhoea diagnoses increased to 82,592 in 2022, a rise of 50.3 per cent compared with 2021, while there was a 23.8 per cent increase in the number of new diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections in 2022.

The figures also reveal that there were 2,195,909 sexual health screens performed by sexual health services, an increase of 13.4 per cent compared with 2021.

Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “These new statistics continue to show that local council-commissioned sexual health services are at risk of breaking point, with rising demand coming at the same time as real-terms cuts to funding.

“It is encouraging to see more people visiting their local sexual health clinic, which is a testament to the work of councils with hard-to-reach communities in their areas, as well as the new cutting-edge treatments on offer.

“However, this is becoming increasingly unsustainable without a long-term increase in councils’ public health grant, which goes towards funding vital sexual health services.

“The Government should ensure sexual and reproductive health funding is increased to levels that match the increases in demand local services have seen. 

“Investment in early intervention helps to save costs to the health service and prevents problems developing further down the line.”


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