FSRH’s June 2020 Council meeting – what happened?

Posted 18 Jun 2020

Date: 18 Jun 2020

Author: Charlotte Porter

In order to engage members with more of the work of the FSRH, we plan to share insights from our Council meetings. Dr Charlotte Porter, Member/Fellow representative has written about the meeting on 11 June 2020.

So, first council by Zoom. So far my time on Council seems to have been a series of firsts; with the new building and my first ever meeting preceding this one!

As ever a prompt and efficient start by Dr Asha Kasliwal, President. Followed by a slightly surreal round of introductions, and everyone figuring out hand raises, thumbs up and ways of interjecting politely, along with now expected muting hiccoughs, and introduction to new RCOG President, Dr Eddie Morris.

As ever the agenda was tightly packed, but to fit with new Zoom format, a few topics had been highlighted for discussion, with paper submission for other items, which are available for council members in the week before the meeting (thank you Helen Davies, Executive Assistant to the President and CEO).

The CEO shared a review of progress with the FSRH strategy, noting changes forced by COVID-19, which have resulted in rapid progress with:

  • Numerous COVID-19 guidelines produced for healthcare professionals
  • The publication of COVID-19 guideline aimed at women
  • A new Facebook Group - which now has over 800 members
  • A SRH leads forum - 
  • The recent COVID-19 webinar series – we have reached over 2000 SRH healthcare professionals per webinar

The FSRH hopes, that it is continuing to support its members, and promote contraceptive and sexual health provision, but we welcome feedback as to how we can continue to improve this work.

The impact of COVID-19 on the financial position of FSRH, and the planned launch of the new learning management system (LMS), the redesigned Diploma and SRH Essentials courses was also noted. We are aiming that the LMS will be ready for use later in 2020, and hope that this will be useful not only for trainees, and qualifications, but also for teaching resources, recording and obtaining CPD points.

Council then moved on to discuss the draft of ‘choice in contraception and climate change’. The discussion was wide-ranging, recognising the laudable ambition, put potential pitfalls of such a strategy. There was a general feeling of unease in linking fertility control and climate change, but a positive ambition to reduce the environmental impact of FSRH as an organisation. Volunteers were identified to commence a working group to move this forward.

We then moved on to a discussion of membership representation on council. Engagement with members is vital to the future of the FSRH, and ensuring that you all feel able to have a positive impact in faculty strategy, and to get the support and information you need to continue to provide excellent SRH services is a key part of Council representative role.

We discussed the roles that regional senate (RCGP) and representative (RCOG) members have in highlighting member and clinician concerns, and hope to move forward our plans to help members get a more obvious voice at council. (Any thoughts as to how you feel this could work better – eg with regional, topic based, or disciplinary representation would be welcome- though please bear in mind the voluntary role of representative members!).

As part of this, we were pleased to receive questions in from members for Council, and will be reporting back to those that raised them.

We then moved on to discuss and vote for the Honorary Fellowship applications, noting the number (9) and quality of submissions.

Finally, before closing the meeting we had an interesting presentation for the Events Committee, Co-Chairs, Dr Ulrike Sauer and Dr Janet Michaelis, who have recovered from the disappointment of cancelling the April Scientific meeting, and bounced back with plans for a virtual conference - we hope that they can build on the recent success of the webinar programme. 

Finally, we discussed experiences in the lock down, and the positive and negative experience that council members have had in this difficult time. Sharing with colleagues in a supportive way is always helpful, and I thank Asha for her foresight in including this in her packed agenda.

And please let me know if this is a helpful way to get information about the discussions and output from council. Please email: info@fsrh.org addressing it to me.