More people in Waltham Forest accessed sexual health services during the pandemic, despite a sharp fall in Redbridge and across England.

Experts say widespread disruption to the NHS and changes in behaviour may have contributed to the drop in people contacting sexual health clinics during the pandemic.

NHS Digital figures show around 6,610 people approached sexual health services in Waltham Forest between April 2020 and March – up from 3,110 the year before.

In the same period at Redbridge around 3,960 people approached sexual health services– down from 4,535 the year before.

A fall in face-to-face appointments across England could have prevented people from accessing help and support with contraception, pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

However, figures show that 50 per cent of consultations held by clinics in Waltham Forest in 2020-21 were face-to-face, compared to all consultations the year before.

Lisa Hallgarten, from sexual health charity Brook, said remote consultations could prove convenient for some, but highlighted difficulties in accessing care for those without a safe space at home.

She said: "Some will have found the ability to speak to a health care professional from home straightforward.

"Others may have struggled with finding private spaces at home for the conversations they needed, or may have found lack of data or Wi-Fi an obstacle to accessing the services they need."