FSRH President: One Year On (Part 2)
Date: 30 Oct 2023
Author: Dr Janet Barter
One very exciting part of the role of President of FSRH is meeting you, our members and working with partners and external stakeholders to push forward the aims of our organisation.
Looking back at some of the highlights of the first year:
In my first month as President I attended both Labour and Conservative Party conferences with members of the external affairs team.
At the Labour Party Conference, I spoke with the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Wes Streeting MP, and the Shadow Minister for Primary Care and Patient Safety, Feryal Clark MP. Conversation focused on promoting the Goals set out in the FSRH Hatfield Vision and emphasising the need for political leadership on the issue of women’s reproductive health.
At the Conservative Party Conference, I was delighted to meet with Baroness Liz Sugg, who led on parliamentary efforts to maintain access to telemedicine for Early Medical Abortion (EMA). We discussed the policy changes still needed within abortion care – including establishing buffer zones around clinics – and the work of the SACHA study, which is creating an evidence base to guide new directions in abortion care in the UK.
I have had a range of meetings with politicians and their advisors since then, following on from the conferences.
The FSRH Annual Scientific Meeting, Glasgow: Your community comes together
Our first post-pandemic Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) was a resounding success, bringing together healthcare professionals, researchers, and advocates from across the country. This event provided a platform for sharing cutting-edge research, promoting best practices, and fostering collaboration among experts in the field. With over 130 delegates joining in-person and many more online, the event underscores the importance and contribution of the SRH community.
The overwhelming positive feedback from attendees shows the importance of such gatherings, and we are committed to making this an annual tradition that elevates the standards of sexual and reproductive healthcare. If you attended this year, I hope you enjoyed it, and if you didn’t – maybe consider coming next year!
Revitalising our work in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland
We recognise the diverse needs and challenges across the UK and were encouraged that many of you joined us for our ‘Meet the President’ in-person meetings during the year. Through better supporting our members in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, enhancing our representative governance in each devolved nation, together with strategic partnerships and engaging directly with you, we are refocusing on your needs and the issues that matter most. By fostering collaboration and sharing expertise, we aim to promote equitable access to high-quality reproductive and sexual healthcare for all, that reflects the individual environment of each nation.
Collaborating with partners
I have been delighted to represent FSRH at various stakeholder and partner meetings. I have attended regular sector meetings with the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) and the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) to discuss priority issues raised by you, our members. This has included working to minimise the impact of monkeypox on SRH services, highlighting workforce shortages and increasing waiting lists. I have joined meetings of the Advisory Group on Contraception (AGC), an expert group made up of leading clinicians and organisations working in women’s health, focused on the improvements needed in contraceptive care. I have also attended meetings of the English HIV and Sexual Health Commissioners’ Group, the ICB network, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on SRH and The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and have worked closely with Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, BASHH and the British Menopause Society.
I am always pleased to hear the high regard with which the FSRH and its work is held, and I genuinely believe that working with partners increases our influence and ability to serve our population.