FSRH press statement: new consensus and survey on reproductive health by PHE shine a light on neglected women’s health area

Posted 25 June 2018

Date: 25 Jun 2018

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

Today Public Health England (PHE) launched a set of three documents outlining a new consensus on reproductive health, situating it firmly in the public health arena. PHE’s consensus statement places women at its core in a person-centred approach across the life-course.

An accompanying survey with more than 7000 women illustrates women’s experiences with their reproductive health and reveals that 31% have experienced severe reproductive health symptoms in the last 12 months, ranging from heavy menstrual bleeding to menopause, incontinence to infertility. Yet less than half of women sought help for their symptoms, regardless of severity. 

Dr Asha Kasliwal, FSRH President said:

“FSRH welcomes Public Health England’s consensus statement and survey on women’s reproductive health. FSRH is one of the stakeholders and has worked hard to embed its holistic vision of sexual and reproductive healthcare into these flagship reports.

It is alarming and deeply concerning that almost a third of all women surveyed experiences serious reproductive health issues with many reluctant to seek help. The results of PHE’s survey underscore a few hidden issues in women’s reproductive health: the neglect of reproductive health within the broader scope of sexual and reproductive healthcare; the continuous stigma surrounding women’s health; and a lack of support for women to seek help.

Contraception, abortion, menstrual health, menopause and other issues have for too long being de-prioritised in the health system. However, as in FSRH’s vision, there is no wellbeing and good health without good sexual and reproductive health – this is the basis for women and men to lead productive, fulfilling lives. Reproductive health is an integral part of public health and must be afforded a central place in any strategy to improve the health of the population. Investing in reproductive health also has a high return of investment. For example, it is estimated that for every £1 invested in contraception over £11 is saved.

Yet cuts to sexual and reproductive healthcare services continue unabated. The downsizing of sexual and reproductive healthcare services is a result of severe cuts to the public health grant over the last few years. As PHE’s survey data shows, if less than half of women seek help for their conditions, a decrease in access to services will only make it harder for women to get the care they need.

FSRH urges the Department of Health and Social Care to prioritise and fully fund PHE’s upcoming five-year action plan. A good place to start is by including spending in sexual and reproductive healthcare in the recently announced £20 billion NHS settlement for the next five years. This would place reproductive health – and women’s health generally – on an equal footing with clinical areas in the NHS."

Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, 27 Sussex Place, London NW1 4RG. Charity No. 1019969.

Notes to editors:

  • The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ.
  • FSRH’s Vision can be downloaded here.
  • Public Health England’s new suite of documents, including the consensus statement and survey, can be found here.
  • As part of the launch, FSRH President Dr Asha Kasliwal speaks about challenges to the delivery of SRH on a new edition of Health Matters, PHE’s information hub for evidence of what works in tackling major public health challenges. You can access on FSRH's YouTube channel.

For further information please contact:
Camila Azevedo
FSRH External Affairs & Standards Officer
Email: externalaffairsofficer@fsrh.org
Telephone: 02037945309