History of the FSRH

The FSRH was established in March 1993. The foundations of the FSRH date back to 1974, when approximately 1000 family planning clinics that were run by the Family Planning Association (FPA). were handed over to the National Health Service (NHS) to be managed by the Local Area Health Authority Public Health departments. This left no medical body to represent doctors working in this field that could facilitate sharing of good practice and the development of standards, guidelines and training.

In 1972, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) established the Joint Committee on Contraception (JCC) in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), which took over the FPA's training role. In 1974, the National Association of Family Planning Doctors (NAFPD) was formed to represent doctors working in the field and disseminate good practice.

The first president of NAFPD was Professor Sir Stanley Clayton who was also President of the RCOG, which cemented the connection between what is now the Faculty and the RCOG. NAFPD published the first issue of what is now the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care C the following year in 1975.

In 1975, general practitioners started to be paid for prescribing contraception, with the UK becoming the first country in the world to provide contraceptives free of charge.

On 26 March 1993 the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare was established from the JCC and NAFPAD as a faculty of the RCOG, but independently governed and with the following objectives:

  • To give the discipline of sexual and reproductive health care (SRH) academic status and recognise the expertise within it
  • To maintain and develop standards of care and training and ensure that a high quality of practice is maintained by all providers of SRH
  • To promote the effective interaction of SRH with related disciplines
  • To gather, collate and provide information in support of basic and continuing education in the discipline
  • To advance medical knowledge in the discipline and encourage audit and research
  • To support and represent those working in the discipline at regional, national and international levels.

Dr David Bromham was elected as the Faculty's first Chair. David had been central to the development of the Faculty and was an energetic and inspirational man, but sadly during his second term of office he became ill and in 1996 he died, a great loss not only for the Faculty but also for the family planning movement in the UK and worldwide. The subsequent Presidents (the title was changed from Chair to President in 1999) all contributed enormously to the development of the Faculty, ensuring it met its objectives and strengthened its key role as a cross-specialty organisation with high-quality patient care at its heart.

The work of the Faculty was much broader than family planning, and whilst founded on the needs of women it also encompassed some aspects of men's health care. Internationally the concept of SRH was well established and after consultation, in 2007, during the tenure of Dr Meera Kishen, the name of the Faculty was changed to the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) as it is known today.

Adapted from Wilkinson, C. & Halfnight, D. J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 2013;39:78-79