FSRH officially endorsed a new report released this week by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCPG) which highlights the complex and fragmented way that sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services are commissioned in England as well as the decreasing services available in the community as a result.
The report indicates that years of progress in SRH care, including a halving of teenage pregnancy rates over the last decade and steadily increasing uptake of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), is at risk due to the mounting pressures facing GPs and practice teams.
Dr Anne Connolly, GP, FSRH Vice President, said:
“The expectation that women should feel satisfied with decreased access to the full range of contraceptive options and SRH services is unacceptable. It also risks disempowering the most vulnerable, who may find more difficulty negotiating the barriers and navigating the system to find the SRH services they need. For instance, one FSRH member has recently reported that self-referral to the local specialist service for LARCs, the most effective method of contraception, has been stopped, with patients being turned away and told to see their GP. However, this policy has not been communicated to local general practices, a reflection of poor communication across fragmented commissioning structures with no oversight over the entire system, and many are unable to pick up the slack.”
Dr Asha Kasliwal, FSRH President, said:
“It is unreasonable to expect that primary care services which are already under considerable strain will have the skills, capacity and ability to assimilate additional service provision without extra funding, training and planning. Lack of clear, timely and consistent communication across the system is, moreover, a key challenge for the patient journey."
Download the full statement below and access the full report here.