Emma Reynolds – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Emma Reynolds on 2016-01-11.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how his Department plans to monitor progress against the targets in its Framework for Sexual Health Improvement in England.

Jane Ellison

The Department’s Framework for Sexual Health Promotion in England (2013) sets out our ambitions and objectives to improve sexual health for all people. It takes account of the commissioning arrangements from 2013 including the new role for local authorities (LAs) as commissioners of most sexual health services. Later this month Public Health England (PHE) will undertake a survey of local commissioning arrangements for sexual health. It has also produced sexual health and reproductive health profiles to help LAs and others monitor the sexual and reproductive health of their populations and the performance of local public health related systems.

It is for LAs to decide on what research and evidence they need to inform their tenders for sexual health and reproductive health services in line with procurement requirements and good practice. In 2014 PHE published Making it Work, a guide to commissioning for sexual health across the whole system, to improve the sexual health of both individuals and the wider public.

We have made no formal assessment of the effect on sexual health services of reductions in the Public Health Grant to LAs for 2015/16, although PHE continues to monitor relevant outcomes data for every LA in England. Decisions on local public health spending are a matter for LAs. They are mandated by legislation to commission open access sexual health services that meet the needs of their local population. Officials meet regularly with sexual health organisations who would raise any concerns if LAs were not meeting their mandatory requirements for sexual health services.

The Framework for Sexual Health Improvement includes as a priority reducing unwanted pregnancies and highlights the need to increase access to long acting reversible contraception (LARC) methods and emergency contraception for women of all ages. We have no plans to evaluate the effect on general practitioner surgeries of LA commissioning of LARCs.