Public Health England today published findings from a survey of commissioners across the NHS and local authorities showing significant issues with the commissioning of sexual health, reproductive health and HIV services. The report shows that the Health and Social Care Act left a fragmented system that is struggling to meet the needs of the population. Commissioners are also facing significant budget cuts along with increasing demand.
Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), said:
“The HIV care pathway, from prevention, to diagnosis, to treatment, to management, is a casualty of the fragmentation caused by the Health and Social Care Act. This report further highlights the issues in commissioning for HIV and wider sexual health services and we welcome the plan of action from PHE to address these.
“Such action is not a moment too soon, but must be backed up by funding. Spending in HIV prevention has reduced by a third in two years and support for people living with HIV by a the same in just one year. If cuts continue we will not be able to maintain success in reducing HIV transmissions and care for people living with HIV will deteriorate with severe consequences.
“We welcome PHE’s commitment in this report to ensure sexual health and HIV services are considered in the planned changes to local authority funding, which include the removal of the ring-fence for the public health budget. The potential impact of these changes on public health has not been explored. It is essential that this is done by Government as a priority before the situation, which is already at a critical point, gets worse.”