Today the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has launched a new Prevention Strategy for England, Prevention is better than cure.
We welcome the Health Secretary’s focus on prevention and agree that preventing ill-health is central to a sustainable health system and the lives of individuals.
‘However, today’s announcement brings no relief to the sexual health services across the country that are in the midst of a sexual health crisis. We’re extremely disappointed that no new money for local authority public health – including sexual health services – was announced today. £85 million of cuts are planned to public health services for next year, with cuts totalling £700 million by 2020.
‘The Health Foundation has shown that sexual health funding will have been cut by a quarter by 2020. Rates of syphilis have skyrocketed by 148% since 2008, gonorrhoea is rising and sexual health clinicians are clear that the impact of cuts to sexual health services means they are having to turn away people due to being unable to meet demand.
‘The joint efforts of local authorities, the NHS, charities and community activists has led to significant decreases in new HIV diagnoses. However, this incredible progress is at risk if sexual health services are not fully funded to meet demand.
‘We agree with the Health Secretary’s point around prioritising prevention, but this must be accompanied with a commitment to invest in local authority public health services in order to end the sexual health crisis the country is experiencing.'