Sharon Hodgson MP, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, has today slammed the Government’s inaction on the sexual health service crisis and called on the Government to ensure that local sexual health services are sufficiently funded.
The call comes as Public Health England figures published today show:
• A 5% rise in overall STI diagnoses between 2017 and 2018;
• A 26% increase in gonorrhoea diagnoses between 2017 and 2018. This is the highest level of gonorrhoea diagnosis in 40 years;
• A 5% rise in syphilis diagnoses between 2017 and 2018. This is the highest rate of syphilis in 70 years.
Since 2013, the Government have cut the Public Health Grant to local authorities by £700m up to 2020/21. This includes a cut to sexual health services of £55.7m.
Commenting on the statistics, Sharon Hodgson MP, Shadow Minister for Public Health said:
“The shocking statistics today show that the Government’s funding cuts have consequences.
“Time and time again I hear from local authorities, sexual health services and charities that these vital services are struggling to keep up with demand and are buckling under the Government’s funding cuts.
“That fact that STI diagnoses are continuing to increase, with Gonorrhoea and Syphilis diagnoses at the highest rate on record, should be a serious red light to the Government that their cuts to public health services are having a serious impact on the health of this country.
“I urge the Government, once again, to reverse the cuts to the Public Health Grant and establish a funding settlement post-2020/21 for our vital public health services to ensure that service provision can be provided for all that need it.”
Notes to editors:
• Public Health England’s statistics can be found here