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The progress that has been made on sexual health is clear. The latest data shows that between 1998 and 2004 the under-18 conception rate fell by 11.1 per cent. and the under-16 rate by 15.2 per cent.—both record low levels since the mid-1980s. We have relatively low HIV prevalence compared with other EU countries—to a significant extent as a result of
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sustained public education and health promotion campaigns. There has been a large drop in the number of AIDS diagnoses and a 70 per cent. drop in AIDS deaths following the successful uptake of high active antiretroviral therapies since the late 1990s.

Mr. Stuart: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Minister is absolutely failing to address the situation in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The content of a ministerial speech, particularly in an Adjournment debate, is not a matter for the Chair. The hon. Gentleman has initiated the debate and the Minister will find his own way of replying to it.

Mr. Lewis: Thank you very much, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

In the East Riding of Yorkshire, the primary care trust is undertaking a significant review of family planning and sexual health services across the region, and it has an explicit and clear intention to replace family planning clinics with locally based sexual health services that it believes will better meet patients’ needs. Its aim is an integrated, locality-based sexual health service, following feedback received from patients that services are complex and sometimes confusing.

Another part of the distortion that goes on in these debates is that any change, reconfiguration or reorganisation of services is described as a cut. The Opposition have been clear about this. They will campaign against any change to services, even if that change is in the clinical best interests of their localities and local communities. If the judgment has been made in the locality that to provide a more integrated and effective service, reorganisation is necessary, the hon. Gentleman should engage in a constructive and positive way with his strategic health authority and the relevant PCT to consider what is genuinely in the best interests of his local community, not come to this House and engage in political posturing.

As I understand it, the hon. Gentleman has met the senior people at his SHA and had a sensible dialogue with them about their intentions. I assume that he would say that their intentions in terms of achieving
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more integrated and effective sexual health services are, from their perspective, in the interests of the local population, and they are not trying to undermine the services. Yet the hon. Gentleman comes to this House and implies in some way that that reorganisation or reconfiguration is essentially a cut, and that is disingenuous.

Is the hon. Gentleman or his party saying, in the context of this debate, that it is wrong that we are the first Government who have looked the health service in the eye and said that, as in any other organisation in the public or private sector, we will no longer tolerate a situation where budgets are allowed to be out of control, and that it has a duty and responsibility to bring those budgets back within reasonable control. We are the first Government to be brave enough to do that. Historically in the health service, the overspenders have been bailed out by the well-managed underspenders. It is in no one’s interests to allow such a situation to continue. For the first time the Secretary of State has looked the health service in the eye, has not blinked, and has said that it must put its house in order. The minority of health organisations that have not been managed properly and have a long history of overspending are now required to bring their budgets into balance. Surely a party that always claims to believe in good management, enhanced productivity and sensible financial controls should welcome the fact that we are the first Government to have done this.

If the hon. Gentleman is championing the importance of sexual and mental health services, I applaud that; more hon. Members should do so. They are Cinderella services that do not get enough attention or profile. If the hon. Gentleman is willing to engage in a debate about how to improve sexual and mental health services, he will find me a willing partner. But please do not come to the House and make dishonest— [Interruption.] I withdraw the word “dishonest”; he should not make disingenuous political speeches designed to give one impression to his constituents, while we get an entirely different impression if we look at the policies of the Conservative party, of which the hon. Gentleman is one of the most passionate supporters.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at half-past Six o’clock.

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