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Recession may lead to more sexual health problems

23rd September 2009

Family planning experts have warned that the recession could lead to an explosion in sexual health problems and unplanned pregnancies.

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The Family Planning Association (FPA) and the mental health charity Rethink have raised concerns that cuts to services at clinics could result in fewer people getting the advice or treatment they need.

The issues was raised at a fringe meeting of the Lib Dem conference – organised by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health - amid fears that areas such as sexual and mental health, often seen as unpopular, are first to suffer when cuts are being discussed.

Julie Bentley from the FPA said the impact of cuts from sexual health services was often hidden.

She added: "How many of us are going to complain if the service we got for our genital warts has not been good enough? We will not be writing to the local paper."

She also warned that health authorities may be tempted to cut the provision of longer term contraception, which could lead to an increase in spending on maternity services for unplanned pregnancies and abortion services and that cuts in opening hours of clinics would mean people have less opportunity to seek treatment.

Paul Corry, of Rethink, said rises in people seeking help from his organisation because of fears about debts and redundancy came as its funding was under threat and cuts in public spending were looming.

Lib Dem health spokesperson Baroness Barker agreed it was important to protect spending on mental and sexual health services.

 

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