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Sexual Health Services

Volume 650: debated on Tuesday 27 November 2018

9. What recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of demand for sexual health services. (907858)

Since 2013, when local authorities took on responsibility for these services, attendance has increased from 2.9 million to 3.3 million. Tests for sexually transmitted infections and access to long-acting contraception have also increased, which shows that people are taking their sexual health seriously and that services are responding.

Unfortunately, syphilis and gonorrhoea diagnoses are up 20% since 2016. What are the Government going to do to address this growing trend, given that sexual health services are at their limit?

The evidence I have is that sexually transmitted infection rates are stable, that rates of teen pregnancy are falling, that rates of abortion are stable and that rates of HIV testing are increasing. However, the hon. Gentleman raises an important point, and I will look into it. The most important thing is not necessarily where or how people access their services, because we want to make tests and long-term contraception available online too. We will keep the issue under review.

Does the Minister agree with the chief medical officer, who said in her evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee that she thought the cuts to sexual health services had gone too far?

As I said in my previous answer, the important thing is to look at outcomes. We can see that levels of teen pregnancy and sexual infection are stable and that more people are accessing contraception. We need to ensure that people can access contraception in the most convenient way for them, and we can see that rates of access are on the increase.