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To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) what guidance his Department plans to provide to local authorities on how to undertake a needs assessment of contraceptive services in their locality to ensure choice and open access to these services; and if he will make a statement;
(2) with reference to his Department's proposed reforms to the delivery of public health services, what support and guidance his Department provides to local authorities on commissioning comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services; and if he will make a statement;
(3) with reference to his Department's proposed reforms to the delivery of public health services, what sexual and reproductive health services local authorities will be required to commission to ensure choice and open access to such services; and if he will make a statement;
(4) whether his Department expects Public Health England to produce guidance for (a) clinical commissioning groups and (b) local authorities on the commissioning of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services; and if he will make a statement.
It is the Government's intention that, subject to the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, there should be a small number of activities that local authorities will be mandated to commission. These activities will include appropriate provision of confidential, open-access sexual health services. However, it is not the intention to be overly prescriptive regarding the detail of how these services should be commissioned, or to constrain local authorities' ability to design services which meet the needs of local people.
The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and the Health and Wellbeing Strategies prepared by each local area will help to inform the commissioning of sexual health services, including contraceptive services, from April 2013. Clinical and service standards developed by bodies such as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the Faculty for Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV are available to current service commissioners to help to inform commissioning decisions, and these standards will be available to future service commissioners as well.
The Department will also work with colleagues both in the national health service and in local authorities to determine their need for guidance on commissioning specific public health services such as sexual health services.