Sexual health services in Tower Hamlets safe for another year

Sexual health clinics in Tower Hamlets have been earmarked for safekeeping as the council starts preparing to take over healthcare commissioning from the NHS in April as part of government reforms.

Despite proposals to slash spending on similar services in other boroughs, Tower Hamlets Council chiefs recently agreed to ensure sexual health services continue to be funded for another year.

Their decision followed a report in the British Medical Journal, a magazine for health professionals, which suggested cuts to these services could lead to billions of pounds worth of additional health and social care costs by 2020 as a result of an increase in unwanted pregnancies and sexual diseases.

Councillor Abdul Asad, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, confirmed the council’s commitment to funding sexual health services during a site visit to the Ambrose King Centre, the Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) clinic at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel last Monday (Feb 12).

“We know that good sexual health and access to contraception is not only important for health and wellbeing, but helps reduce future costs,” he said.

Cllr Asad and other visitors from the council, NHS and voluntary sector were shown around the clinic, which is one of the busiest in London, where patients from across the capital receive free sexual health advice, treatment and access to contraception.

The visit coincided with the unveiling of a new sexual health awareness leaflet and poster campaign, which officially launched on Valentine’s Day, last Thursday, to let residents know how to access the sexual health services in the borough.

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Dr Somen Banerjee, Tower Hamlets director of public health, said: “We want people in Tower Hamlets to look after their sexual health and increase access to services and contraception choices.

“Sexual health services in Tower Hamlets are available from a wide range of settings including GPs and at our three sexual health clinics with opening hours during the day, evenings and on Saturdays.”

• For more information about sexual health services in Tower Hamlets, visit