FSRH statement on Monkeypox’ impact on provision of SRH care
Date: 05 Sep 2022
Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements
The growth of the monkeypox outbreak has slowed, but new cases are being recorded every day. A recent survey conducted with our members shows that monkeypox is impacting Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (SRH) services, diverting clinical capacity and hampering women’s access to basic SRH care. We call on the Government to resource SRH services adequately, so that they can effectively support the efforts to tackle monkeypox and ensure everyone is able to access the SRH care they need.
We have heard from our members that monkeypox is leading to a reduction on clinical time available for SRH, with increased waiting times and backlogs on regular services impacting women and girls. According to our survey, waiting lists have increased and some services have had to stop providing some types of SRH care. Services are experiencing workforce shortages as a direct result of the rise in monkeypox cases, on the back of already underfunded services which were then hit further by cuts and COVID-19.
Additionally, some members have pointed out that staff are not being offered priority vaccinations despite being on the frontline. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced that the next batch of 100,000 vaccines will only be delivered later in September, citing global supply issues.
Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:
“As is the case with sexual health services, SRH services are bearing the brunt of monkeypox without additional funding or staff to provide assessments, treatment and vaccination. The situation has deteriorated significantly since late June, with our members reporting that they are not being provided with adequate support to deal with the monkeypox outbreak.
“SRH services are recovering from COVID-19, and monkeypox is adding an additional strain on already overstretched resources. As a result, women and girls are being side-lined, facing increased waiting times and backlogs. Some services have had to stop essential care such as the provision of long-acting reversible contraception, the most effective contraceptive methods to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
“This is adding additional pressure on other parts of the system, such as general practice, which is already struggling to meet demand, and now may face increased demand from patients who are not able to get an appointment or access SRH care in community SRH clinics.
“It is crucial that everyone in need of SRH care is able to continue to access comprehensive services, wherever they choose to. We call on the Government to ensure SRH services in primary, community and secondary care are adequately resourced, so that they can effectively tackle monkeypox without compromising essential SRH care.
“We will continue to work with UKHSA and partners across the system to ensure patients’ needs are met and achieve outbreak control before monkeypox becomes endemic.”
For further information please contact Camila Azevedo, FSRH External Affairs Manager, at email@example.com / 02037945309
Notes to editors
- Monkeypox is often spread by very close contact with someone with the virus. Most of those infected will recover within a few weeks. A notable proportion of cases has been identified among gay and bisexual men. As with any illness, monkeypox can affect anyone, not just LGBTQ+ people, and everyone who has developed symptoms should get tested.
- The symptoms of monkeypox include unusual rashes or lesions on the body such as the face or genital area; fever; muscle aches; chills and exhaustion; headaches; and swollen lymph nodes.
- Read our previous statement on monkeypox here
- Read the announcement by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) here. Latest updates (UKHSA) can be found here.
- Resources by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) can be accessed here.
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the leader in the field of sexual and reproductive healthcare, and we are the voice for professionals working in this area. As a multi-disciplinary professional membership organisation, we set clinical guidance and standards, provide training and lifelong education, and champion safe and effective sexual and reproductive healthcare across the life course for all.