‘UNPRECEDENTED’ demand is being seen in Barnsley sexual health clinics due to rocketing cases of gonorrhoea - with figures more than quadrupling in a decade.

Analysis from the Local Government Association (LGA)s show 256 cases of gonorrhoea were most recently recorded in Barnsley, an increase of 126 on the year before when there were 130.

In 2012, there were 59 cases but since 2017, cases of gonorrhoea have climbed by 197 per cent.

Despite both syphilis and chlamydia cases being down, healthcare bosses have issued a warning about gonorrhoea as most carriers do not experience symptoms.

Dr Hamish Mohammed, from the UK Health Security Agency, said: “We saw more gonorrhoea diagnoses than ever before, with large rises, particularly in young people.

“STIs aren’t just an inconvenience - they can have a major impact on your health and that of any sexual partners.”

The LGA found that between 2015 and 2024, public health grants received by councils has been reduced in real terms by £880m, ‘resulting in a reduction in councils’ ability to spend on STI testing, contraception and treatment’.

David Fothergill, from the LGA, said: “These statistics show that local sexual health services are grappling with unprecedented increases in demand.

“Although some of the rise has been attributed to increased diagnostic testing, and the ongoing work of councils to improve access to services and make it easier for people to get tested regularly, the scale suggests a higher number of infections in the community.

“While demand has risen, funding for these services has been reduced.

“The government needs to ensure sexual health funding is increased to levels which matches these stark increases. ( “Councils have been working hard to encourage more people to access sexual health services and get tested more regularly to help improve detection rates and catch infections early.( “Investment in sexual health services helps to prevent longer term illness and unwanted pregnancies, reducing pressure on our NHS and improving the health of people across our communities.”

Dr Claire Dewsnap, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, labelled the findings as ‘deeply concerning’.

“We’ve repeatedly stressed that, without sufficient investment, sexual health service users will face severe challenges in their ability to access expert, timely care.

“On top of this, the impact of tendering processes has contributed to a lack of stability in the sexual health sector and a depletion of training which further jeopardises the quality and accessibility of services.

“This data not only demonstrates the deeply concerning trajectory of STI infection growth but also the need for a robust national strategy, backed up by adequate funding.

“As demand for care increases, without imminent action, we compromise our ability to safeguard the sexual health of our nation.”