“Let’s increase chlamydia screening across Gloucestershire” say Lib Dems

August 27, 2015 7:11 PM

A Liberal Democrat prompted review of Chlamydia Screening in Gloucestershire has revealed the diagnostic rate in the county to be below the recommended detection rate.

The National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) was established in 2003 in England to facilitate early detection and treatment of chlamydia infection. Chlamydia infection is the most common sexually transmitted disease, it is often asymptomatic, but left untreated, chlamydia can cause infertility or potentially fatal ectopic pregnancies.

Public Health England recommends that chlamydia screening services work to achieve a detection rate of 2,300 chlamydia diagnoses per 100,000 young adults aged 15-24 as an outcome measure in controlling chlamydia in young people.

The study conducted by Gloucestershire County Council at the behest of a Liberal Democrat budget amendment back in February however shows that this recommended detection rate has not been achieved in the county since this measure was introduced in 2011.

In 2013, the detection rate in Gloucestershire was 1,728 per 100,000, which was 1.9% lower than the previous year. Figures released for 2014 indicate that the detection rate has fallen for a second year and will once again be in the "red" at 1,645 per 100,000. The diagnostic rate in Gloucestershire is also below the England (2,012) and also South West (1,836) rates.

Ian DobieThe Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Public Health and Chair of the Gloucestershire Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr. Iain Dobie (LD: Leckhampton and Warden Hill) said that:

"This comprehensive study reveals more screening is needed in Gloucestershire to identify those infected with Chlamydia, not only to reduce onward transmission but also to head off the longer term risks of untreated infection, such as infertility and pregnancy complications.

"There is evidently a particular need to increase screening coverage in some county districts, for example in the Forest of Dean where despite a relatively low rate of screening there is a relatively high detection rate - indicating probable large numbers of undiagnosed Chlamydia cases.

"I'd like Gloucestershire to reverse its current downward trend in screening rates and become one of the local authorities to achieve the national target detection rate of 2,300 Chlamydia diagnoses per 100,000 15-24 year olds.

"This study provides us with a number of positive recommendations towards reaching that goal. I would like to see these recommendations successfully implemented and to that end will be aiming to bring this report before the Gloucestershire Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee for consideration."