FSRH CEO: Gary Waltham shares reflections on his first two years in the role - Part 2

Posted 01 Feb 2024

Date: 01 Feb 2024

Author: Gary Waltham

In part 2 of our exclusive Q&A, Gary shares insight into our international offer and his vision for the future.

What steps have been taken to ensure we remain relevant and responsive to emerging needs?

Of our 14,000 members, there are 330 based outside of the UK. This is primarily due to the FSRH education and training that leads to membership not having been an option internationally, beyond the MFSRH. In 2023, with the support of Council, this was changed and we have started delivering the DFSRH (the Diploma) beyond the UK for the first time. Working with two very committed and passionate members in the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we implemented two pilot Gulf DFSRH programmes in the autumn of last year, with 16 learners across the two sites working towards qualification.

Growing our education offering overseas is a great opportunity for us to deliver our charitable purpose, namely: To advance medical knowledge concerning sexual and reproductive healthcare; To advance the education and training of healthcare practitioners in the fields of sexual and reproductive healthcare and; To promote and maintain high standards of professional practice within the fields of sexual and reproductive healthcare. We very much intend that this is just the beginning.

"Growing our remit outside of the UK is an opportunity to improve SRH provision for people all over the world."

Regardless of cultural, religious, and legal factors, high-quality SRH is a human right, and I firmly believe our education, advocacy and membership can advance care internationally. We are working to identify further DFSRH programme locations internationally and will share progress across the year.

How do you plan to ensure the organisation remains sustainable and continues to grow its impact?

Early into starting at the FSRH, I commissioned an external company to undertake an independent digital health check on our core digital infrastructure. 

"We had work to do to modernise, be more robust, de-risk, and crucially, improve user experience."

Leading the way has been the implementation of a new CRM (membership database) and CMS (website), which are essentially the heartbeat of our digital ecosystem. In the summer of 2022, the Board of Trustees approved the decommissioning of our current systems and supported an investment to procure a new solution. Overseen by a steering group, which includes member, trustee, and staff representatives, a project commenced in Autumn 2022, with a procurement process taking place in early 2023. Scoring potential suppliers against a comprehensive set of requirements and after a period of due diligence, the chosen supplier was iMIS, whom the team have been working with throughout 2023 to implement the new solution. The platform is used across the membership sector, including amongst some Royal Colleges.

What is your vision for the organisation over the next few years?

In isolation, a new website and membership database don’t sound overly exciting. But this is going to be a game changer for the way the FSRH works and the experience of members when interacting with the organisation. From receiving communications, registering for a qualification, booking an event, recording CPD points and everything in between, the new solution will enable a very different, innovative and efficient experience, saving time for our members when engaging with us. A slicker, more modern experience has been a key driver for the project, and as we edge closer to the go-live date in spring, I am increasingly excited about the benefits the project will achieve.

As a membership organisation with 14,000 colleagues, it can be a challenge to gain a true sense of community and interaction. The new platform will change all of this via the ability to create digital communities. These can be, for example, regional-based, area of professional interest-based, or when working on an FSRH committee or project. There is no limit.

"The digital communities will be a way for groups of members to share information, discuss topics, collaborate on documents and ultimately act as a source of connectivity."

I am very much looking forward to the launch and the incremental benefits that digital development will enable for all those who are part of the FSRH community.