A Labour Councillor has raised concerns about the level of future support to be provided for Sittingbourne and Sheppey young people in need of guidance on sexual health matters.
Cllr Roger Truelove raised the issue at a meeting of the Swale Borough Council because he says the service is needed to counter any increase in teenage pregnancies and in sexually transmitted diseases. He called on the Swale Cabinet member for health, Cllr Ken Pugh, to lobby strongly on behalf of our local young people.
Planning of Public Health services was passed to the Kent County Council in April. The KCC is in the process of consulting on a new strategy for the County, which concentrates sexual health services in two main “Hubs”, one at Maidstone and the other in Canterbury.
Less complete services will then be provided at so called “Spokes”. At present the County Council is considering two “spokes” on the Isle of Sheppey and one in Sittingbourne.
Cllr Truelove says,
“As ever, our area is never the basis for the key provision of services when it comes to health. We must fight our corner to protect young people. I hope Swale Council will fulfill its duty of care and lobby KCC as strongly as possible. I have had a meeting with the key planner at KCC and I believe we can retain a good service in our area, but we need to monitor the process. I am concerned too about the possibility that in the interim, there may be a scaling down at the Memorial Hospital in Sittingbourne.”
- Over the last 15 years the level of teenage pregnancies (Under 18s) in Kent has fallen by 26%. Only one district, Maidstone, has seen an increase. Of the remaining districts, Swale has the lowest rate of decrease at 8%. Shepway has seen a 47% decrease
- In Sittingbourne and Sheppey, Sheerness West, Murston and Milton Regis have seen the highest levels of decrease, whilst there has been an increase in the rate in Minster Cliffs, Chalkwell and Kemsley