The UK Government is to set up a national sexual health strategy. The news comes in the Government’s formal response to recommendations in the Health and Social Care Committee’s June 2019 report on sexual health. Development will be led by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), in partnership with NHS England, Public Health England, NHS Improvement, local government and other partners.
- “Stakeholder roundtables” are planned for Autumn 2019 to gather evidence and consult on priorities.
- Results will be available in early 2020, and the new strategy will be announced later that year.
- Responses to the Green Paper ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’ will also inform the strategy.
The announcement has been welcomed by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH), which earlier campaigned for the Committee inquiry to be set up.
“BASHH welcomes this full commitment from the Government to actively support the development of a new and much-needed national sexual health strategy and look forward to being fully engaged in the process that will help to shape it,” said BASHH president Dr Olwen Williams.
It is essential that the new strategy facilitates genuine co-commissioning between the NHS and local government and establishes clear lines of accountability between different parts of the system, Dr Williams added. Fragmentation and disruptive tendering processes have added to the pressure on sexual health services in recent years. The new strategy must be accompanied by sufficient funding for sexual health, BASHH emphasised.