FSRH statement: we welcome the creation of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities
Date: 09 Sep 2021
Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements
The Government has announced the creation of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) within the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) welcomes the new body, which is set to drive the prevention agenda across Government to reduce health inequalities and improve the public’s health.
The OHID will launch in October and will be led by the new Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO) for Health Improvement, Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, and the Director General for the OHID, Jonathan Marron, under the professional leadership of the CMO Professor Chris Whitty.
Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:
“We welcome the creation of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID). This body, as a single source of advice and evidence at the heart of national decision-making will warrant greater ownership and accountability of health improvement and the inequalities agenda by the Government.
“We look forward to working with OHID to inform a new cross-Government agenda on health disparities, as well as playing its part in enacting the Government’s forthcoming SRH and Women’s Health Strategies.
“We believe the OHID must go further in its ‘headline’ ambitions to tackle risk factors for poor health such as obesity and smoking, and address the historic lack of strategic prioritisation of women’s Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (SRH).
“Unplanned pregnancies can have a negative impact on women and children. Evidence suggests increased risk of obstetric complications for unintended pregnancies that end in birth, with associated low birthweight for the baby and poorer mental health outcomes for the mother. Unplanned pregnancies are also acknowledged as both a cause and a consequence of socioeconomic inequality among the population.
“Therefore, tackling the unmet need for contraception would improve long-term health outcomes for women and children, addressing wider determinants of health and tackling health inequalities.
“Access to SRH supports the delivery of these ambitions, and we call on the OHID to prioritise women’s SRH amongst competing priorities, placing it at the core of a preventative approach to health.
“To ensure OHID’s independence and accountability, we call for transparency in decision-making processes. To that end, it is crucial that PHE’s independent advisory groups such as the Sexual Health, Reproductive Health & HIV External Advisory Group and the Reproductive Health Systems Leadership Forum are maintained, providing expert advice to the OHID.”
For further information please contact Camila Azevedo, External Affairs Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 02037945309.
- The Government announcement can be read here.
- The OHID is the new name for the Office for Health Promotion, which was announced in March this year alongside a cross-government ministerial board on prevention.
We have responded to DHSC’s 2021 consultation ‘Transforming the public health system: reforming the public health system for the challenges of our times’, where we expressed our strong support for the creation of the Office for Health Promotion, and welcomed the proposed cross-government ministerial Board on prevention. We also called on DHSC to prevent the loss of expertise in women’s reproductive health currently housed under PHE, and to invest in embedding additional expertise. You can read our response here.
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK multi-disciplinary 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.