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Friday, August 04, 2006

Sexual health funds used to cut trust debts

Millions of pounds intended for improving sexual health services are being diverted to pay off debts, a government advisory group said yesterday. The Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV said that a substantial part of the £300 million set aside had been absorbed by primary care trusts (PCTs).

A survey for the group found that cash set out in the Choosing Health White Paper is reaching frontline services in only 30 of the 191 PCTs questioned. Fifty-one said that they had absorbed their entire allocation into the general budget, and 33 had withheld some or most of the sexual health funding. A further 40 said that funding had not reached contraceptive services.

Baroness Gould of Potternewton, the group’s chairman, said that many trusts were experiencing financial difficulties and that sexual health services were suffering problems such as recruitment freezes and clinics closing.

Nick Partridge, the chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “It would be a great disappointment if sexual health was sacrificed on the altar of financial balance in the NHS.”

The Department of Health said that trusts were responsible for sexual health. “We have provided . . . more sexual health funding than ever before.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2295495.html

Three PCTs in Lincolnshire have closed all family planning clinics and a network of teenage advice centres to help to tackle a £13.5 million budget deficit. And what cop out was used? Jim Moss, of East Lincolnshire PCT, one of the trusts that is making the cuts, defended the decision. “Family planning services are available at pharmacies and GP surgeries,” he said.

So because Boots down the road can shovel pills, they can now help out with teenage health issues. That's alright then.

On Tuesday, November 23, 2004 Sexually transmitted disease is reaching "epidemic proportions", Sexually transmitted disease is reaching "epidemic proportions" amongst young women and requires a government response on the scale of the 1980s' Aids warnings, says John Reid the Health Secretary.

Since then the number of STD infections has contiued to rise: Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)s increases again for 2005- New figures released today by the Health Protection Agency show that the number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other conditions diagnosed in genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics in the UK increased by 3% between 2004 and 2005. Chlamydia remains the most commonly diagnosed STI, with 109,832 new cases in 2005, a 5% increase on the previous year. The highest rates of infection and highest increases in diagnoses were seen for both sexes in the 16 to 24 age group.

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