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Are we facing a sexual health crisis?

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Local authorities are now expected to fund sexual health services with budgets even more straitened than the NHS

With the NHS as a whole struggling, it is common to neglect specialist services. However, a new survey by the RCN has shed light on an increasingly desperate situation in sexual health provision, spurred by the transfer of public health responsibilities to local authorities.

According to the report by the RCN, since the Government moved public health services into local authorities, sexual health has seen a decline in to the commissioning and provision of services, funding reductions and recruitment freezes.

The report also includes a survey of over 600 nurses working in the field found services severely understaffed, with few registered nurses, an inadequate mix of skills and little access to training.

‘Staff are leaving because they are no longer able to provide the service they signed up to. Constant tendering, uncertainty leads to instability. The holistic care of client focused nursing has disappeared into a tick box system to achieve only what the commissioners want without looking at the overall holistic care of the patient,’ said one sexual health nurse cited in the RCN’s report.

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