20th December, 2018

In a move that will prove detrimental to sexual and reproductive health services, a ministerial announcement today has confirmed a further £85 million cut to local authority public health budgets. [1]

The cut, which was announced as part of the local authority finance settlement for 2019/2020, [2] brings the total cuts to public health to £700 million between 2014 and 2020. [3]

Since 2013, attendances at sexual health clinics have risen by 13% [4], while in 2016-17 diagnoses of syphilis and gonorrhoea rose by 20% and 22% respectively. [5]

Research by FPA has shown that women are also finding it harder to access contraception, with just 2% of GPs offering the full range of contraceptive methods and less than half having the time to fully talk through different options. [6]

Chief Executive of sexual health charity FPA, Natika H Halil, said:
“In the face of increasing STI rates and unprecedented demand on sexual and reproductive health services, as well as the first incidences of drug-resistance gonorrhoea, it is not only disappointing but extremely alarming to see these cuts to the public health budget.

“The government must end these short-sighted cuts and ensure that sexual and reproductive health services are fully funded to meet the needs of the population.”

-ENDS-

Notes to editor

[1] https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-12-20/HCWS1221/

[2] The local government finance settlement is the annual determination of funding to local government. Following a consultation the allocation will be approved (this will take place in early 2019).

[3] Figures from The Health Foundation’ Taking our health for granted report.

[4] PHE, Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): annual data tables (Table 3)

[5] PHE, Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): annual data tables  (Table 1)

[6] FPA, Survey finds worrying gaps in GP contraceptive provision

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