FSRH statement: FSRH supports call for joined-up approach to commissioning to improve access to SRH for women of all ages

Posted 2 December 2019

Date: 02 Dec 2019

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) welcomes "Better for women. Improving the health and wellbeing of girls and women", a new report launched by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), which identifies solutions to improve women's and girls' access to holistic women's healthcare.

Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:

“This report by our colleagues from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists comes at a time when women and girls are finding it harder and harder to access essential sexual and reproductive healthcare services.

“It is very concerning that more than a third of women are unable to access contraceptive services where they live - and we know that more than 8 million women of reproductive age now live in an area where cuts to contraception budgets have taken place. Central Government’s cuts to Public Health budgets which started in 2015 have left local authorities struggling to find the right level of funding for these services.

“Cuts to budgets and a fragmented commissioning system have created barriers for women to access holistic care. I see a patient in my contraception clinic who requires a difficult fitting of the coil. She is also due her cervical smear test. This is the perfect opportunity to provide both services. However, my clinic is not commissioned to provide smears, so I am unable to do so. Instead of having all of her needs met in one go, this woman now has to book two appointments for two different vaginal examinations. It is expensive, frustrating for me as a doctor and unfair for the woman. Something has to change.

“We fully support the calls in this report for a joined-up approach to commissioning to improve access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for women of all ages. This would be cost-effective for the NHS in the long-term whilst providing women and girls with high-quality, integrated sexual and reproductive healthcare."

On access to emergency contraception, Dr Asha Kasliwal said:

“Emergency contraception is an essential part of sexual and reproductive healthcare and individuals, including under-18s, must have free and timely access to all methods of emergency contraception including intrauterine contraception.

"While emergency contraception is free in some places in England, many will choose to access it in pharmacies where cost and opening times vary considerably.

“Consultations with pharmacists are highly recommended and best practice as this is a valuable opportunity for individuals to discuss their contraceptive needs with a healthcare professional. However, a consultation should not be a barrier to receiving emergency contraception.”


For further information please contact Camila Azevedo, FSRH External Affairs & Standards Manager, at externalaffairsmanager@fsrh.org or 02037945309.

Notes to Editors

  • The RCOG report can be found here.
  • FSRH's position on emergency contraception can be read here.
  • 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.