FSRH press release: Healthcare leaders and charities support action on women’s reproductive health by 2030
Date: 20 Jul 2022
Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements
Twenty-eight leading organisations and groups across healthcare, public health, charity sector and Parliament are endorsing the FSRH Hatfield Vision launched today by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH).
- The organisations are backing the Vision’s call for significant improvement on reproductive health inequalities experienced by women and girls by 2030.
- The FSRH Hatfield Vision will be launched at a Parliamentary roundtable and reception today, when FSRH will call on the Government to translate the Vision consensus into meaningful action as the Government publishes the Women’s Health Strategy on the same day, and as it develops an action plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health later in the year.
- The FSRH Hatfield Vision outlines priority goals and actions endorsed by the 28 organisations, in areas such as access to contraception, reproductive rights, menopause, menstrual health, cervical screening and maternal health outcomes in black women and women of colour.
The FSRH Hatfield Vision has been developed in consultation with stakeholders across the sector. It aims to leverage commitment and accountability at national and regional levels to achieve comprehensive, joined-up women’s reproductive healthcare.
The FSRH Hatfield Vision is a legacy to the late Jane Hatfield, the first CEO of FSRH. Throughout her working life, Jane Hatfield championed equitable and high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare for all. This was further brought into focus by her own experiences - including treatment following a diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2019 - when she used her voice as a patient to raise awareness of life with ovarian cancer and the importance of early diagnosis including screening. Initiated by Jane before her death in 2021, FSRH has comprehensively developed Jane’s concept into the FSRH Hatfield Vision. Amongst the potentially game-changing Goals within the Vision is a simple one - that the NHS meets its target of 80% cervical screening rate - by 2025.
Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:
“I am very pleased that today the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare is launching its Vision to improve access to reproductive healthcare for women, girls and those assigned female at birth.
“Contraception, menstrual health, menopause and other women’s health areas have for too long been de-prioritised across the health system. Women’s reproductive healthcare is currently fragmented and disjointed. At times, this means that women face a postcode lottery to access essential care, with some clinics and practices funded to offer some procedures, but not others. Instead of having all needs met in one go, women are bounced around an inefficient system that is hard to navigate, leading to multiple inequalities in access to basic care.
“We need change. We need a joined-up, comprehensive solution. This is why we have developed the FSRH Hatfield Vision, which outlines a set of goals and actions that support a cohesive approach to women’s reproductive healthcare.
“This is also why we are calling on the Government to translate the Vision consensus into meaningful action through the Women’s Health Strategy published today and action plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health to be published later in the year. We know what the solutions are, and now is the chance to get it right for women’s health”.
Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG), said:
“We’re pleased to see the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare have today set out their vision for improving women’s reproductive health outcomes in the FSRH Hatfield Vision. They have set out a positive vision that includes plans to improve care, support women’s reproductive health outcomes and reduce inequalities. This is something we’ve called for in our Better for Women report.
“We support the inclusion of improving access to services including those for menopause, abortion and cervical screening. The pandemic has disproportionately affected waiting lists in gynaecology, something we are passionate about improving and had hoped the Women’s Health Strategy would address specifically.
“The goal to reduce health inequalities is also something RCOG is striving for with our Race Equality Taskforce, which aims to eliminate racism and discrimination within obstetrics and gynaecology. We continue to work closely with the Royal College of Midwives, policy makers and healthcare professionals at all levels to improve training and reduce inequalities throughout maternity care.”
Professor Kevin Fenton, President of the Faculty of Public Health, said:
“The Faculty of Public Health supports the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare’s Hatfield Vision which outlines impactful, sustainable, and achievable actions to tackle the reproductive health inequalities experienced by women and girls across the UK.
“Recent, and indeed historic, evidence clearly demonstrates that marginalised groups including those facing economic disadvantage, those from minority ethnic groups, and LGBT people are more likely to face reproductive inequalities such as increased risk of miscarriage, higher risk of gynaecological conditions, and higher rates of teenage pregnancy.
“The FSRH Hatfield Vision for 2030 sets out a clear roadmap to tackle these unacceptable inequalities and improve outcomes in reproductive health across the lifecourse. Realising the targets within the vision will not only positively impact on reproductive health, but will support women and girls to live well and pursue their ambitions in every aspect of their lives.”
Helen Donovan, Professional Lead for Public Health, Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said:
“For too long, women’s health, including contraception, menstrual health and menopause, have not been given the priority or funding they deserve.
“This has led to a situation where care is hugely variable across the country and, as so often happens, it is those already facing the greatest health inequalities – such as those from minority ethnic backgrounds or those in financial hardship – that suffer the most.
“The RCN fully supports this Vision, which is long overdue. Measures such as expanding the number of fully-funded sexual and reproductive health Specialty training posts will support nurses and midwives into the field, and make sure we have the workforce for care across the country."
Birte Harlev-lam Executive Director Midwife, Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said:
“The RCM is really pleased to support the launch of the FSRH Hatfield Vision to improve women’s reproductive healthcare. It’s crucial we all work together to improve women’s health outcomes. The evidence shows us that more joined-up and inclusive healthcare can make a real difference. Often women’s first experience of our healthcare system is at the point of pregnancy, during antenatal care midwives can deliver care and begin conversations with women about smoking cessation, diet and exercise that can have long lasting health and wellbeing benefits for women.
“The disparities in outcomes and experience of maternity care for black and Asian women and women from other ethnic minority backgrounds are shocking, so the RCM welcomes this being included as one of the main goals within the vision. The RCM has long called for more consultant and specialist midwife posts in trusts and health boards to provide better support to women with pre-existing conditions such as increased BMI, high blood pressure, diabetes, and mental health conditions. In many parts of the UK, these midwife roles either do not exist or are very limited, yet they could make a huge difference to black and Asian women in particular. There is some excellent work being done in some areas, so it would be good to see that experience shared across maternity services. Improvement of outcomes relies on sharing what works and what doesn’t, so that we can bring about effective, consistent change.”
Louise Smith, lead member for health prevention services, Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH), said:
“In order to improve outcomes and drive change, we must all work in partnership to address the reproductive health inequalities women face.
"ADPH is therefore delighted to support the FSRH Hatfield Vision, which provides the sector with a unique opportunity to make a significant difference in key areas such as access to contraception and reproductive rights.
“Directors of Public Health are committed to working collaboratively to make the FSRH Hatfield Vision a reality.”
Athena Lamnisos, CEO, The Eve Appeal, said:
“As a charity focused on gynaecological diseases, we know at The Eve Appeal that having access to good information and early education is critical in being able to maintain your health and wellbeing. Without that access – and if the lack of information and all the taboos go unchallenged – people don’t recognise potential signs and symptoms of the five gynaecological cancers. This has a profound impact on the individual and their health outcomes. Supporting high-quality sex education is so important.”
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Notes to Editors
The FSRH Hatfield Vision is endorsed by:
- All Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health in the UK (APPG SRH)
- Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH)
- Bayer UK
- British Medical Association (BMA)
- British Menopause Society (BMS)
- British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)
- British Society of Abortion Care Providers (BSACP)
- Company Chemists' Association (CCA)
- Doctors for Choice
- English HIV & Sexual Health National Commissioners Group
- Faculty of Public Health (FPH)
- Humanists UK
- Medical Women's Federation (MWF)
- MSI Reproductive Choices UK
- NAM Aidsmap
- National AIDS Trust (NAT)
- National Unplanned Pregnancy Advisory Service (NUPAS)
- Organon UK
- Primary Care Women's Health Forum (PCWHF)
- Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)
- Royal College of Midwives (RCM)
- Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)
- Sex Education Forum (SEF)
- Teenage Pregnancy Knowledge Exchange (TPKE)
- The Eve Appeal
- The Lowdown
The Vision features 16 goals in the following areas:
- Ability to choose if and when to have children
- Access and standards of contraceptive care
- Access to preconception care
- Access to menstrual health support
- Access and standards of abortion care
- Access to cervical screening
- Access to menopause care
- Maternal health outcomes in black women and women of colour
- Access to information
It also features 10 priority actions in the following areas:
- Action 1. Community SRH specialty training posts are fully funded, with one new fully funded specialty training post per Health Education England region for the next three years, to provide local leadership, training and governance to SRH workforce and services.
- Action 2. The Primary Care workforce is adequately resourced to provide LARC fittings, removals and training. Local contracts should fully cover the costs of provision, training and maintaining access to this essential service.
- Action 3. Service specifications for specialist SRH services are designed to include training requirements in their contracts.
- Action 4. The NHS and ICS are mandated to collaboratively commission SRH with local authorities, and contracts with care providers require them to adhere to nationally-recognised quality standards such as FSRH’s Standards for Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Services.
- Action 5. A National Clinical Director for women’s reproductive health or a National Specialty Adviser in SRH, or similar, is appointed, who would hold accountability for the commissioning and outcomes of women’s reproductive health.
- Action 6. A women’s health lead, with accountability for reproductive health, is appointed in every ICS Board to ensure that holistic women’s reproductive health is prioritised in ICS strategies.
- Action 7. A national digital service platform is developed for SRH, which will serve as a one-stop point of access for the public and will support the maintenance of access to essential SRH care, operating seamlessly with existing regional / local digital offers.
- Action 8. The London Measure of Unplanned Pregnancy is introduced as the standard national measure of unplanned pregnancy.
- Action 9. The Department of Education signposts teachers to reliable and evidence-based information on issues across the breadth of SRH, to support effective implementation of statutory relationships and sex education guidance.
- Action 10. Providers are well resourced to ensure that service staff use every contact with patients and the public to promote positive SRH and wellbeing in accordance with Making Every Contact Count principles.
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the leader in the field of sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH), and we are the voice for 14,000 professionals working in this area. A multidisciplinary professional membership organisation, we set clinical guidance and standards, provide training and lifelong education, and champion safe and effective SRH across the life course for all.