The Health Secretary Steve Barclay has been urged to do more to tackle monkeypox by LGBT+ groups across the political spectrum, as there is a risk of it becoming "endemic" in the UK.

The U.S. on Thursday (August 4) declared a public health emergency over the virus, which followed the World Health Organisation last month calling it a global emergency.

UK health authorities have urged calm, but now those inside Westminster have called on Mr Barclay to take action due to monkeypox “causing real fear and anxiety” within LGBT+ communities, as many cases have affected gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men.


READ MOREMonkeypox: What are the symptoms and how is it transmitted?


A letter to Mr Barclay signed by the LGBT+ groups for the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens and Scottish National Party said: “We are united as LGBT+ groups from across political parties in asking that the Government treat the monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Steve Barclay has had a letter written to him to take more action on monkeypox (PA)Steve Barclay has had a letter written to him to take more action on monkeypox (PA)

“We cannot afford to allow monkeypox to become endemic in the UK. Luckily, we have the tools required to stop this outbreak and prevent further risk to health now. We ask that you do so urgently.”

The letter, which was also signed by sexual health charities including the Terrence Higgins Trust, said the Government must prioritise communication and vaccination.

The NHS announced late last month that it was stepping up its vaccination programme against monkeypox in London as more supplies of a jab became available.

Vaccination experts have recommended that gay and bisexual men at higher risk of exposure to monkeypox be offered the smallpox vaccine Imvanex.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “Thousands of monkeypox vaccines have already been administered and the NHS is working to rapidly invite those at greatest risk.

“We have procured over 150,000 vaccines, and we’re working with partners – including the NHS and UK Health Security Agency – to share targeted, non-stigmatising communications with the LGBTQ+ community.

“We are enabling local authorities to invest in essential frontline sexual health services by providing more than £3.4 billion through the Public Health Grant.”