To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the planned £85 million cuts to local authority public health budgets for 2019-2020 on (a) access to sexual health services and (b) rates of sexually transmitted infections.
The Government has mandated local authorities to commission comprehensive open access sexual health services. Local authorities are best placed to understand and meet the public health needs of their local communities. While councils have had to make savings, they have also shown that good results can be achieved at the same time.
The total number of attendances at sexual health services nationally increased 13% between 2013 and 2017 (from 2,940,779 to 3,323,275). To help manage the overall increase in demand, local authorities have been utilising technology to manage lower risk and asymptomatic patients. Free, confidential online services which are convenient for patients are increasingly being commissioned. As these services develop, they also have the potential to reach groups not currently engaged with clinical services.