Dr Eveane Cubitt steps down as Chair of the Northern Ireland Committee
Date: 14 Dec 2023
Type: FSRH News and Information
We celebrate Eveane Cubitt, who is stepping down after eight ground-breaking years as Chair of the FSRH Northern Ireland Committee.
Landmark changes to abortion regulation
When Eveane first stepped into the role of Chair after years of committee membership, it felt as though the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland was an unachievable goal. As she steps down after eight transformative years, the country is seeing the extension of abortion provision from 12 to 24 weeks.
It was after years of advocacy that abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland in 2019, and Eveane led the committee in providing guidance and leadership for the complex decriminalisation process. Northern Irish women now have the right to medical and surgical abortions and are protected by safe access zones.
Challenges of the pandemic
As the hard-won regulations came into effect in March 2020, the country was plunged into lockdown. In what Eveane described as the biggest challenge of her career, the Committee were tasked with immediately creating an abortion service to cater to the Northern Irish population who no longer had the option to travel to Britain. The Committee worked with Northern Irish clinicians, to implement FSRH Guidance to create a functioning service for those who needed it in record time.
The challenges posed to SRH during lockdowns were met by Eveane and her committee with quick and high-quality adaptions that they worked with the FSRH to advocate for. During this period, the work contributed to advances in SRH that still stand, including:
- SRH24, Northern Ireland’s online twenty-four hour sexual and reproductive health service
- The free provision of the morning after pill through large numbers of community pharmacies
Eveane’s time as Chair has been marked by achievements that previously seemed impossible. When she took up the post, there were no specialist SRH or CSRH consultants in Northern Ireland. Initially hoping to secure funding for two regional consultants, the committee’s advocacy has resulted in funding for a specialist consultant in each of the five health trusts.
At committee level, Eveane has overseen the diversification of the Northern Ireland Committee with the support of the FSRH, which now has representation from primary care providers, GUM providers and SRH nurses.
Eveane has shared the joy she has taken from chairing the committee, particularly the chance to meet and advocate for such a range of people, as well as pushing for positive change that the regional committee system has enabled her to lead. She steps down from the Committee having set the goal to establish a specialist training programme in the next few years.
We are extremely grateful for the hard work and time Eveane has given to the Committee over the last eight years. We share immense pride in the work she has done to transform the law and lives of women across Northern Ireland. She will be sorely missed by the Committee and FSRH, and we wish her every happiness for her well-deserved retirement.