Suggested press release on sexual health services and public health

Suggested press release on sexual health services and public health.

You may also want to ask your local upper tier authority for data in your area – ask how much is spent on access to sexual health advice services locally.

 

SEXUAL HEALTH SERVICES AT TIPPING POINT WARN LOCAL CAMPAIGNERS

Patients could have to wait longer for sexual health services with visits to clinics up by 25 per cent in five years at the same time as funding for councils to provide vital public health services has been cut, local Lib Dems have warned.

In 2016 there were 2,456,779 new attendances at sexual health clinics compared with 1,941,801 in 2012 across England, and in our region the figure was [INSERT FIGURE FROM TABLE i, 2012 COLUMN – SCROLL DOWN FOR YOUR REGION] in 2012 compared to [INSERT FIGURE FROM TABLE i, 2016 COLUMN – SCROLL DOWN FOR YOUR REGION].

Local Lib Dems say that the Government’s cuts to councils’ public health budgets of £531 million – a reduction of nearly 10 per cent – has left local authorities struggling to keep up with increased demand for sexual health services.

And they add that it is good news more people are taking responsibility for their sexual health, but warn this is placing a significant strain on councils’ resources.

While the number of new diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections fell by 4 per cent in 2016, councils are warning that it will be “extremely challenging” to maintain services at the current level.

Lib Dems are calling on government to recognise the importance of improving sexual health by reversing public health cuts. The funding is desperately needed to meet the increasing demand, otherwise patients could face longer waiting times and a reduced quality of service.

[YOUR NAME] said:

“While it is encouraging that more and more people are taking their own and their partners’ sexual health seriously, we are concerned that this increase in demand is creating capacity and resource issues for councils.

“We are concerned that this will see waiting times start to increase and patient experience deteriorate.

“The reduction in public health funding could also compound problems further and impact on councils’ ability to meet demand and respond to unforeseen outbreaks.

“We cannot tackle this by stretching services even thinner.

“It is obviously good news that diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections are down, but sexual health services are now reaching a tipping point where it will be extremely challenging to maintain this progress.

“Once again this is an example of councils inheriting the responsibility of public health when it was transferred from the NHS in 2013, but without the necessary resources to deliver services.”

Notes to editors

The previous Government reduced councils’ public health grant by £331 million from 2016/17 to 2020/21. This followed a £200 million in-year reduction in 2015/16.

Councils spend approximately £600 million a year on sexual health services. The overall public health budget for 2017/18 is £3.4 billion.

New attendances at council-commissioned sexual health services: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/626381/2016_Table_8_Attendances_by_gender__sexual_risk_and_age_group.xls

New STI diagnoses: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/617025/Health_Protection_Report_STIs_NCSP_2017.pdf

 

ENDS

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