Baroness Gould of Potternewton – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Baroness Gould of Potternewton on 2016-03-08.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government with which groups officials from (1) Public Health England, and (2) the Department of Health have met regarding local authorities not meeting their mandatory requirements for sexual health services; what steps that department will take to ensure that local authorities are meeting their mandatory requirements for sexual health services; and what steps they will take if a local authority is found not to be meeting mandatory requirements to commission open-access sexual health services.

Lord Prior of Brampton

Department of Health officials meet regularly with Public Health England (PHE) to discuss progress on sexual health, including the ambitions in the Sexual Health Improvement Framework (SHIF). Since the Framework was published PHE has developed Sexual and Reproductive Health Profiles to support local authorities, public health leads and others to monitor the sexual and reproductive health of their local population and the contribution of local public health related systems. Trends are shown at both England and local authority level for a range of indictors that match the ambitions in the SHIF where data is available. A further annual progress report on the Framework would duplicate this work. Whilst there are no current plans to update the SHIF, in December 2015 PHE published their Health promotion for sexual and reproductive health and HIV, strategic action plan, 2016 to 2019, which complements the SHIF. A copy of the plan is attached.

Departmental and PHE officials have met with the Local Government Association, English HIV and Sexual Health Commissioners Group, British Association for Sexual Health and HIV and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health where open access sexual health services were discussed. PHE has undertaken a survey of local commissioning arrangements for sexual health.

Local democratic accountability is at the heart of the accountability of local authorities for their statutory duty to improve the public’s health. PHE has a specific role in assurance of the ring-fence grant and that local authorities are meeting the grant conditions and the terms of the associated statutory regulations. PHE publishes data on outcomes from services for each local authority in England and can provide support and advice where necessary.