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Dr Asha Kasliwal, FSRH president, reflects on our achievements in the past year
Date: 20 May 2019
It is a huge privilege to lead the largest professional membership body working in sexual and reproductive healthcare in the UK. SRH is at the heart of what we do, and 2018 has been an exciting year for us, where we reached the important milestone of our 25th anniversary.
Our achievements – lots to celebrate, lots to do
So, what have we achieved in 2018? We improved our governance structure with the creation of a new trustee board in 2018, to provide leadership and finance/business planning expertise to our organisation. This has enabled our Council to focus on oversight of our education, standards and influencing work.
We are committed to developing our qualifications and training offer to meet the needs of our members and enable them to deliver effective and safe SRH care.
We launched our first Contraceptive Counselling online course, with 719 registrations worldwide, and re-launched SRH Essentials to positive feedback. Our Diploma Review project is making good progress and we are on track to launch our new FSRH Diploma in Spring 2020.
We developed new clinical guidance alongside our ever-popular webinars, which over 3,000 members accessed.
"We are also aware that, despite these achievements, there is also much to do. We know these are challenging times with many of you working in services that are facing cuts, coupled with increases in demand. We have been working hard with you, our members, to influence government, commissioners and other key decision-makers to drive home the impact of these trends on access to SRH care."
SRH policy ‘wins’ in 2018
In 2018, our influencing work directly led to a number of positive policy developments in SRH.
We have long been advocating for high-quality, factually-based relationships and sex education (RSE), and I was thrilled when the Government announced that RSE would be made statutory in all secondary schools in England from 2020.
"I was also pleased to see the announcement made in England, Scotland and Wales that women would be able to take the second course of medication for a medical abortion (misoprostol) at home. This follows consistent engagement with MPs and decision makers such as former Secretary for State, Jeremy Hunt and Minister Jackie Doyle-Price."
I have also outlined challenges to the delivery of SRH services speaking alongside Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State (SoS) for Health and Social Care, at the Conservative Party Conference. This led to the new Secretary pledging to review how the 2012 Health and Social Care Act impacts SRH care.
At the Labour Conference, our CEO spoke alongside Shadow Secretary of State, Jonathan Ashworth, contributing to him calling for a reversal of cuts to Public Health and SRH in Parliament, now official Labour Party policy.
We also launched plans to implement our vision of patient-centred, holistic care in Scotland and Wales.
"There is also a lot to be excited about for the future. In 2019-20, we will introduce a new learning management system to help our members gain and track their CPD and improve support to our trainers."
Thank you for your time and support
Last, but not least, I would like to thank our members, staff and all those who have given their time on FSRH committees, Council and as trainers. It is your expertise, support and knowledge that makes us increasingly effective and influential.
I hope we can count on your continued support in 2019 and beyond.