Health

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:18 pm on 14th May 2019.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 4:18 pm, 14th May 2019

I have taken the hon. Gentleman’s point. That is the purpose of the entire prevention agenda: to help people to stay healthy in the first place.

Let me give a few examples. The hon. Member for Leicester South talked about deaths of despair, and each one of those suicides is a preventable tragedy, but he did not mention that the suicide rate in this country is the lowest it has been in seven years. We should be celebrating that while also resolving to drive it down further. Similarly, he talked about some of the sexually transmitted infections that are rising around the world, including in America, France and Belgium, but he did not mention that STIs overall are down. Indeed, HIV is down very significantly, and the UK is one of the leading countries in tackling HIV. It is important to look at the objective facts and not just pick out some. Of course there are STIs that we must tackle, and we will, but we must look at the overall picture. I will give one more objective fact: the number of attendances at sexual health clinics has gone up. That is one of the reasons why STIs overall are down.