Spending on sexual health services in Enfield has seen the biggest drop in the whole of London over the last five years.

Between 2013 and 2018 spending by Enfield Council on sexual health services fell from £8, 937 to £4, 696- a decrease of nearly 50 per cent.

The major drop in spending came between 2013 and 2014 where it fell from nearly £9,000 to £4,668 – it then fell gradually over the next four years.

But Enfield Council has insisted there has not been a drop in funding of sexual health services itself because it is funded on a ‘pay as you go’ basis – meaning there has just been a drop in demand for the services.

The council speculates this could be for several reasons such as drop in teenage pregnancy rates or easier access to contraceptives via pharmacies – although it did not give a detailed explanation.

Cllr Yasemin Brett, Enfield Council’s Cabinet member for Public Health, said: “Local authority sexual health services are funded on an ‘as used basis.’

“Consequently, local authorities are charged each time sexual health services are used by their residents.

“Sexual health funding is therefore driven by demand and Enfield is not able to cut sexual health services to residents.

“Enfield has made strenuous efforts to improve sexual health in the borough.  We recognise that sexuality is a normal healthy part of life and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that our residents have the support they need to live and enjoy long and healthy lives.”

The data, taken from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, by London Assembly member, Sian Berry revealed spending by all local councils in London on sexual health services fell from an average of £176 million in 2013 to 148 million in 2018.

The funding by boroughs covers education on preventing sexually transmitted disease, treatment for sexually transmitted infections as well as proving contraception and advice.

Responsibility for sexual health services was transferred to local authority public health departments in 2012.

Ms Berry said: “Investment in health should be a priority for boroughs, but budgets have been reduced by tens of millions of pounds despite the clear need for contraceptive advice for London’s women and the high number of sexually transmitted infections in the city.

“For some people even asking for help for sexual health problems can be a barrier to accessing services – but the situation is worsening as Londoners are having to compete for appointments or even being turned away from clinics already struggling to meet demand.”

Ms Berry is also calling on the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to use his “influence” to help local councils prioritise sexual health support.