Sexual health services: a cut too far?

Due to pressure on local government to cut spending, HIV drugs have fallen into a commissioning gap and contraception advice is failing. And there are more cuts to come
Sexual health

The pressure to do more with less to meet the needs of an ageing population with more complex health needs is leading to difficult decisions about which services to cut. Sexual health has not escaped – and is beginning to suffer because of the financial constraints on the NHS and the wider public sector.

Public health funding will see a 9.7% reduction between 2016-17 and 2020-21 – equivalent to a loss of £330 million, according to the Local Government Association (LGA). This is on top of the £200 million cut for 2015-16. Such cuts have been affecting sexual health service provision since responsibility was shifted to local authorities three years ago.

RCN professional lead for public health nursing Helen Donovan says: ‘Local authorities are even more hard pressed for money so there’s an even bigger drive for cost savings.

‘The picture for sexual health services is very