Jane Hatfield, CEO of FSRH on International Women's Day and more

Posted 18 Mar 2017

Date: 18 Mar 2017

Author: Jane Hatfield - CEO of FSRH

Jane provides an update on the work of FSRH to date in 2017.

Dear FSRH members,
International Women’s Day (8 March) provided a welcome and much needed focus on the health and wellbeing of women and girls in all societies. It also provided the Faculty with the opportunity to work with the RCOG on abortion care – a day lead by our two Presidents focusing on how the most common ‘gynaecological’ procedure in the UK can be improved and adequately resourced, how those providing it and those receiving care can be better supported and how the future workforce can be identified, trained and supported. The day also gave us the opportunity to flag up our work on conscientious objection and the development of our ‘position’ on abortion care in the UK. As members of the FSRH you will hear more about both these issues soon and we will be asking you for your views on our position on abortion care. Having been very involved in both sets of discussions I have been struck by how important it is that the Faculty provides space for its members to discuss these issues in non-judgemental, well-informed settings. As a non-clinician, I have learnt a great deal from listening to and participating in these debates and they have been greatly enriched by the diversity of views expressed by our members including those of you with some form of ‘conscientious objection’. As a membership body of over 15,000 doctors and nurses working in a wide variety of settings, some full time in SRH, many working as GPs across the full medical spectrum, we may never reach a consensus over some areas of healthcare. However we would like to do more to engage you – the Faculty membership – in discussions over issues – like abortion care – that are central to effective sexual and reproductive health provision. Please do get involved in these debates.

I also want to thank those of you who have participated in our membership feedback project being carried out by ‘Blueberry’ on our behalf. They have now spoken to many hundreds of you about what you like about the FSRH and your member benefits and what you think we should improve on. Our Council will be discussing the report being put together by Blueberry so that we can ensure we make improvements to your services. If you have not been contacted by Blueberry but want to submit your views please get in touch with me directly on chiefexec@fsrh.org . Whilst we are working very hard to ensure we can be as responsive as possible to our members please do bear in mind that our membership is far larger than most Royal Colleges but we have only 17 full time equivalent staff members. As such we rely very heavily on our amazing ‘volunteers’ (ie our members) including our Officers and committee members and I hope if you haven’t already that you will consider applying for one of our current vacancies including that of Vice President, General Training – a crucial role overseeing our ‘non specialist’ education and training work.

I would like to flag up the publication of our latest clinical guidance – produced to NICE standards by our fantastic Clinical Effectiveness Unit in Edinburgh. Emergency Contraception was published on 14th March and we will be holding a webinar (free to members, £10 to non-members) on March 22nd. Do sign up today. All our clinical guidance and standards are funded by membership subscriptions and we know you value them a great deal.

Finally, I would like to bring your attention to our various prizes and encourage you to apply for these if relevant to you: The David Bronham award recognises innovation in SRH services and closes on 7th April. The Anne Szarewski award is awarded to the best single-author article on new initiatives or improvements in clinical practice by 31 March.  And finally there is the Margaret Jackson essay prize which also closes at the end of March. Please do consider applying for these awards to gain recognition of your work.

And to finish with some good news - If you read our Sexual Health and HIV bulletin you will have heard the fantastic news that the government is finally putting plans in motion for Sex and Relationships Education (now referred to as ‘Relationships and Sex Education’) to be made compulsory in all schools in England. The announcement, which comes after several years of campaigning, including by FSRH, has been widely welcomed by those working across the education, health and youth sectors. This is one of the building blocks of the FSRH vision for sexual and reproductive care in the UK and we hope will make a real difference to children and young people in giving them real choices in their lives.