FSRH Consultation Response: FSRH provides evidence on consequences of cuts to SRH services to Health and Social Care Committee inquiry

Posted 2 October 2018

Date: 02 Oct 2018

Type: FSRH Consultation Responses

In its submission to the Health and Social Care Committee’s (HSC) sexual health inquiry, FSRH provides evidence on cuts to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care services as voiced by its membership, highlighting the effects it has had on the workforce. FSRH stresses the role of Government in strengthening local authorities’ (LAs) SRH mandate.

The key messages that FSRH conveyed in its submission focus on:

  • Prevention: there is good evidence that investing in public health and SRH accrues savings across health and social care systems. For example, Public Health England (PHE) estimates that for every £1 spent on publicly-funded contraceptive services saves £9 across the public sector.

  • Access and funding: evidence indicates that cuts coupled with fragmented commissioning have had a severe impact on access to contraception. Freedom of Information (FOI) requests issued to all 152 upper-tier LAs in England by the Advisory Group on Contraception (AGC) found that two thirds of local councils have cut their SRH budget since 2016/17. FSRH’s rolling members’ survey reveals that 58% of respondents said that they had experienced cuts in funding to services over the last 12 months.

  • Commissioning: fragmented commissioning of services is threatening access to contraception and other co-commissioned services such as cervical screening and contraception for gynaecological purposes. FSRH believes there is a need for SRH care to be more broadly integrated into women’s healthcare pathways in the NHS.

  • Role of Government: FSRH called for fully funded SRH services as well as the strengthening of the Sexual Health Local Authority mandate.

  • Standards and accountability: for this FSRH’s Vision to be realised, SRH services must be delivered in accordance with nationally recognised standards in SRH, guaranteeing high-quality SRH care and patient safety. FSRH’s Service Standards on Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare have been developed specifically to support providers and commissioners in providing safe, high-quality SRH services

  • Workforce: the SRH consultant workforce is in a succession crisis. It is estimated that one third of the current medical workforce could retire in the next 5 years. Yet the current predicted output of the Community Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (CSRH) Specialty training programme falls well-short of replacing the vacancies that will arise due to consultant retirement, let alone address the fact that current consultant numbers relative to population numbers are inadequate. FSRH would welcome fully funded CSRH training and consultant posts to help ensure the system is effectively training, educating and investing in the new workforce.

    • Nurses: in order to further the development of nurse competencies and strengthen their leadership role, FSRH believes that there should be a structured career pathway for nurses working in SRH.

Read the FSRH submission in full below.