A doctor has warned that hundreds of women could become infertile because of budget cuts to sexual health clinics.

Dr Clare Gerada, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said she feared young women in Lambeth could be left unable to have children because of Lambeth PCT’s decision to slash spending on screening for chlamydia.

Women who contract chlamydia will often go for months without any symptoms which can cause infertility.

Sufferers who do conceive are likely to pass the infection on to their unborn child, often causing them blindness.

In an interview with the Guardian, Dr Gerada said the decision to cut funding for chlamydia screening was “short-sighted” and could have a devastating effect on the lives of many women.

She said: “Chlamydia screening has been cut by Lambeth PCT to save money.

“That's sad and short-sighted because it will mean that young girls end up being infertile because they won't find out they had chlamydia.”

But a spokeswoman for NHS Lambeth insisted cuts would not affect the spread of STIs in the borough.

She said doctors would continue to test for chlamydia at the earliest stage possible as part of local health services.

She said: “Work will continue to maintain the levels of screening uptake, and to ensure that chlamydia is detected and treated early, to reduce the risk of spread of infection.

“Chlamydia screening is available at a range of sexual health services, as well as through GPs.”

Rates of the sexually transmitted infection are one of the highest in London, affecting one in 20 people aged 15 to 24, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

The authority estimates 2.3 per cent of Lambeth residents had a sexually transmitted infection in 2010.