Health Secretary welcomes review findings into Sexual Health Services in Wales
A Welsh Government commissioned report looking at sexual health services in Wales has today been welcomed by the Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething.
The review was undertaken by Public Health Wales following consultations with a wide-range of stakeholders and overseen by the Sexual Health Programme Board.
The report acknowledges the significant contribution sexual health services in Wales make in the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and in providing contraception.
The report does however highlight inconsistencies in sexual health service provision across Wales, including services provided by primary care, and accessibility to, and availability of, abortion services.
It also found that attendances at sexual health clinics have doubled in the last five years, which is putting pressure on existing service models.
Welcoming the report, the Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething said:
"My vision for sexual health services in Wales is one of modern services meeting the needs of all users. I am pleased to see the report praises the commitment of the sexual health workforce in Wales and the progress that has been made."We've made tremendous strides in recent years in reducing teenage pregnancies, but the burden of sexually transmitted infections remains considerable and it's clear from this report that more needs to be done, particularly in respect of access and inequality.
The report’s recommendations include:
- Health boards to develop an understanding of the needs of their population and have a system in place to deliver services to vulnerable groups
- Considering amending the legal framework to allow patients to take medication for termination of pregnancy at home
- Enhancing the role of for primary care and pharmacies in sexual health provision, for example delivering over the counter oral contraception
- Health boards look at other opportunities to extend provision of Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) in both primary and secondary care.
The Health Secretary added:
“I’d like to thank the Public Health Wales reviewers for the collaborative way in which they undertook the review, and to all those who contributed to it.”
Dr Giri Shankar, Professional Lead Consultant for Health Protection at Public Health Wales, who oversaw the review on behalf of the organisation, said: