The Community Network, established by NHS Providers and the NHS Confederation, has responded to the publication of the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s report on sexual health.
Community Network chair Andrew Ridley said: “This report shows what happens when there is a failure to effectively fund sexual health services. The Government needs to match its rhetoric on improving the health and wellbeing of the nation by ending the short-sighted cuts to public health and prevention services that we have seen in recent years.
“The failure to fund sexual health services effectively has reduced access to vital services at a time when we are seeing rising infection rates and increases in demand. This problem is likely to get worse as sexual health services are not covered by the Government’s new five year funding settlement.
“This is a false economy as we know sexual health services deliver real benefits to patients and reduce pressure on emergency and hospital services. These services – often delivered by NHS services in the community – will play a pivotal role in delivering the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan. This issue must be addressed in the next spending review.
“Prevention must be a priority for the NHS as we move to a population health approach. This will require effective partnerships between the NHS and other local public services. Without this, we will fail to narrow the widening health inequalities we are seeing.”