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July 8, 2019
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ADPH Press Statement: PrEP extension welcome but unresolved funding puts roll-out at risk

On Friday 5th July NHS England announced that it would fund the NHS costs for the additional roll-out of places on the PrEP trial. This is very welcome, but by no means enough to enable roll-out and risks unfairly raising expectations.

The Government has left the issue of local authority costs unresolved despite repeated calls by the LGA and the ADPH, and as a result some clinics are already saying they will not have the necessary capacity to deliver more places for PrEP.

ADPH and LGA fully support increased PrEP availability, and would like to see the full roll-out, but this requires funding. Whilst the Government leaves funding unresolved this remains a barrier to roll-out. The previous extension of the trial announced in March 2019 has already created an unfunded £7million cost on councils.

ADPH Vice President Jim McManus said:

“The Government has given no thought to the strain this will put on local authorities at a time when they are already trying to meet unfunded burdens, contravening the Government’s own policy position on not creating such new burdens on councils.

“Clinicians are already saying they may not have capacity to roll-out PrEP because the current approach creates a double burden on local authorities and sexual health services - firstly, not all of the time and administrative costs incurred by involvement with the trial are met by NHS England, for instance the additional resources needed to help with data entry are not met by NHS England. Secondly, the further associated costs of HIV tests and repeat GUM visits and other tests are paid for by councils through the public health budget.

“The ADPH called on the Department of Health and Social Care in March to work with us on securing the funding for a full roll-out. This would cost less than 1% of the money spent in bailing out NHS Acute Trust Deficits in 2019. We are disappointed our call has gone unheeded.

“The Government has stated its ambition for zero HIV transmission. It now needs to put its money behind its rhetoric. For PrEP to be rolled out public health needs a long-term and sustainable funding package, and this must be addressed by the Spending Review. But that will be too late for the immediate term and we have been urging the Government since December 2018 to act now. A small investment should resolve this issue and prevent avoidable HIV infections. If the Government believes in zero HIV transmission it needs to resolve this.”

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