To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the effect of the delay in the launch of the London sexually transmitted infection testing services on (a) patient access to sexually transmitted infection testing in London and (b) London council's public health budgets.
Public Health England (PHE) has provided specialist advice to the London Sexual Health Transformation Programme on a range of topics, including: best practice, behavioural change approaches, evaluation and the development of service standards. Discussions continue at officer level to support this collaborative approach to commissioning and evaluate its impact.
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 set out local authorities responsibilities for commissioning open access sexual health services in their area. Decisions about the exact configuration and location of services are therefore taken by London boroughs to best meet their residents’ needs.
In collaborating through the London Sexual Health Transformation Programme boroughs aim to respond in innovative ways to increasing demand for services and to meet population needs. Participating boroughs have recognised the need for change and are committed to open access services that also reflect changing demand for testing. Collaboration by commissioners offers an efficient and effective way forward for ensuring high quality sexual health services.
Phased implementation of an on-line e-service through which testing can be sought has been commissioned for London boroughs by the Programme. This is expected to commence from January 2018. Ahead of this date, interim arrangements for physical or online service delivery are being put in place locally as needed. Any potential impact on local public health budgets arising from this timetable of implementation will vary depending on local needs and arrangements.
PHE has committed to supporting the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the Transformation Programme as it is implemented.