Parts of the national chlamydia and gonorrhoea screening programme for 15 to 24-year-olds are being scrapped locally after NHS managers blamed ‘Government cuts'.
RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada received a message from her local PCT telling her the programme, including its incentive payments for GPs, was ending.
The email from NHS Lambeth, sent to Dr Gerada in her capacity as a practice partner in Kennington, south London, said: ‘Due to Government cuts, the chlamydia and gonorrhoea screening for 15 to 24-year-olds service level agreement has been axed. Please use the microbiology forms for all ages. Do continue to offer the screening, as Lambeth still has the highest level of people with chlamydia in England.'
Dr Gerada told Pulse: ‘The cuts are biting at the worst possible places. Cutting the screening will cause no end of misery and infertility further downstream. This is the worst kind of short-termism – it is terrible.'
A spokesperson for NHS South East London, of which NHS Lambeth is a part, said: ‘As part of a wider review of local enhanced services, NHS Lambeth will stop incentive payments for screening of chlamydia and dual testing of chlamydia and gonorrhea of 15 to 24-year-olds in primary care from October 2012.'
A DH spokesman said: ‘We are not cutting the National Chlamydia Screening Programme, we are improving it. New arrangements will mean more accurate data being collected.'