‘Unprecedented’ demand on sexual health services

It is calling on the Government to provide extra funding so local sexual health clinics can meet rising demand, and to publish a long-term plan to help prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections.

LGA analysis of new figures for England  show that almost all council areas (97 per cent) have seen an increase in gonorrhoea diagnoses, with 10 local authorities seeing rates triple. 

The biggest increases were in Wigan, Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and Torbay, and the highest rate of diagnoses was in Lambeth.

Additionally, 71 per cent of areas have seen increases in cases of syphilis, with the largest increases in Middlesbrough, the Isle of Wight, Darlington, and Redcar & Cleveland.

Demand for sexual health services has continued to grow, with nearly 4.5 million consultations carried out in 2022, up by a third since 2013, and diagnostic tests up 13 per cent, to 2.2 million.

As first was going to press, councils were still waiting for publication of their 2024/25 public health grant allocations.

Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “These statistics show that local sexual health services are grappling with unprecedented increases in demand. The Government needs to ensure sexual health funding is increased to levels that match these stark increases.

“Investment in sexual health services helps to prevent longer-term illness and unwanted pregnancies, reducing pressure on our NHS and improving the health of people across our communities.”


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