MIL-OSI UK: Sexual health funding cuts attacked by the Assembly

Source: London Assembly

Sexual health funding from London boroughs has dropped by an average of 16 per cent in recent years.  This has made accessing services very difficult and some Londoners are being turned away from struggling sexual health clinics.

 

Today, the London Assembly unanimously called on the Mayor to urge London Boroughs to make sexual health support a priority.

 

Sian Berry AM, who proposed the motion said:

 

“For some people even asking for help for sexual health problems can be a barrier to accessing services – but the situation is worsening as Londoners are having to compete for appointments or even being turned away from clinics already struggling to meet demand.

 

“We have a clear need for contraceptive advice for London’s women and for more help and information to reduce the high number of sexually transmitted infections in the city.

 

“The Mayor must use his influence to convince councils to keep these vital services open and accessible for anyone who needs them.” 

 

 

Tom Copley AM, who seconded the motion said:

 

“It is absolutely unacceptable that too many Londoners are finding it difficult to access sexual health clinics due to a combination of funding cuts and the rising levels of demand being placed upon them. Vital campaigns about the importance of regular testing are undermined if people are routinely being turned away from clinics.

 

“Not only are funding cuts to sexual health services putting people’s health at risk, they are a false economy. The Department for Health’s own research shows that every £1 spent on sexual health services saves the taxpayer £11 over the long term.

 

“At a time of rising demand for sexual health services, we should be making it as easy as possible for people to get the help and advice they need.

 

“Whilst we acknowledge the significant pressures being placed upon councils across the capital due to significant Government cuts, it is vital that the Mayor uses his powers to urge boroughs to make sexual health support a priority.”

 

 

The full text of the motion is:

 

This Assembly notes that sexual health funding from London boroughs has dropped from an average of £176 million in 2013/14 to £148 million in 2017/18, a 16 per cent reduction. [1]

 

We note that, although the Mayor does not control where councils make cuts, he is able to exert his political influence, in particular through the London Health Board, to make the case to London councils for them supporting sexual health clinics.

 

We welcome the work of the London Assembly Health Committee in raising this issue with the Mayor. [2]

 

We recognise that even asking for help for sexual health problems can be a barrier to some people accessing services and that the situation is worsening as Londoners are having to compete for appointments or are even being turned away from clinics already struggling to meet demand.

 

This Assembly therefore urges the Mayor to make strong representations to London boroughs urging them to make sexual health support a priority.

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