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Since 2012 the number of people attending sexual health services in England has grown from 1.94 million to 2.46 million, a rise of 25 per cent.
There has also been a marked increase in levels of STIs during this period, with Public Health England data showing that levels of syphilis are at their highest level since 1950, and that newly diagnosed sexual infections in men who have sex with men are 38 per cent higher than in 2012.
Despite these growing pressures, recent research led by the King’s Fund revealed that local councils are due to spend £30m less on sexual health in the coming year compared to 2016/17.
This is on top of the damaging impact caused by the £200m in-year cut to public health budgets delivered in 2015, and the further 4 per cent per year cut announced to the budget in the most recent Spending Review.
The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) echo the concerns raised by the Local Government Association (LGA) that sexual health services are at a "tipping point" due to significant and sustained cuts to public health budgets.
This reactive approach means than any intervention that takes place, if indeed there is any, is invariably too late.
For example, in education and training where our charity has direct experience: If the consequence of short staffing is that prisoners are locked up with very little time out of their cells for teaching or even for fresh air, then it becomes inevitable that tensions build up and then trouble breaks out.
Why won’t the government give urgent attention to prisons?
Failure to do so will be the falsest of false economies, the consequences of which will be felt for years to come.
Dr Elizabeth Carlin – president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV Dr Mark Pakianathan – consultant physician in sexual health, St George's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London Dr Laura Waters – consultant physician in GU & HIV Medicine, Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Mortimer Market Centre, London There can be few people involved with vulnerable youngsters who will not have been touched, and outraged, by the tragic story this week of the suicidal teenage girl unable to get the support she needs.
The Chief Inspector of Prisons has forcefully made the case; the reports of IMB’s make the case; privatising the bigger half of probation has led to a wholesale reduction in professional probation expertise; cuts in Police numbers have led to severe resourcing issues affecting crime prevention.