FSRH press release: RCOG and FSRH urge a ‘new and bold approach’ to women’s healthcare in their manifesto ahead of the General Election 2019

Posted 27 November 2019

Date: 27 Nov 2019

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) have today published a joint manifesto ahead of the general election on Thursday 12 December. The manifesto outlines a vision for improving the health of girls and women in the UK, with five specific calls to action for the next government.

Professor Lesley Regan, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said:

“It is time for a new and bold approach to women’s health and we urge the next Government to prioritise the health of our girls and women throughout their lives.

“We are calling for a national strategy that is responsive to the needs of girls and women across their lives – from adolescence, to the middle years and later life.

“This includes the need for high quality relationships and sex education, the decriminalisation of abortion and a fully-funded 6 week postnatal check which also focuses on the health of the mother.”

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

“This manifesto champions a life course approach to women’s health with prevention at its heart. At every stage of life, we have opportunities to improve women’s health and wellbeing.

“We believe that removing barriers to access sexual and reproductive healthcare is vital to ensure that women receive the holistic, preventative care they need. This is why we are calling for NHS England, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Authorities to collaborate and co-commission sexual and reproductive health services until it becomes the norm across England with clear lines of accountability across the system.

“Education will also prove crucial to improve access and de-stigmatise sexual and reproductive health. Young pupils have the right to access factual, evidence-based information about sexual and reproductive health in schools, and we are urging the Department for Education to ensure high-quality training in this area for teachers, with enough time stipulated in the curriculum to teach Relationships and Sex Education.”

Note to Editors

For media enquiries, please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)20 7045 6773 or email pressoffice@rcog.org.uk

The RCOG/FSRH general election manifesto is published online here.

About the RCOG
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision. www.rcog.org.uk

About the FSRH
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. You can read more about FSRH here: https://www.fsrh.org/home/

RCOG and FSRH General Election Manifesto, 2019

We want to see the next Government take a new and bold approach to women’s healthcare, breaking down stigma and taboos that persist, providing accurate and accessible information and championing high-quality care through a life course approach.

We want all the parties to commit to:

  • A national women’s health strategy: The government must improve women’s health by creating a national women’s health strategy which demonstrates how government departments, arm’s length bodies, and other organisations work together to put women at the centre of their care.
  • High quality Relationships & Sex Education: The Department for Education must provide high quality training for teachers, with enough time stipulated in the curriculum to teach the subject, and adequate assessment of the quality of its teaching. 
  • Removing barriers to access healthcare: NHS England, clinical commissioning groups and local authorities must co-commission women’s sexual and reproductive health services with adequate oversight from the NHS.
  • The six-week postnatal maternal check: a missed opportunity: The NHS must provide a six-week check to cover the health of both baby and mother. This should be fully funded so that GPs and other healthcare professionals have the time to give every new mother the care she deserves. 
  • Decriminalisation of abortion: The Government must decriminalise abortion up to 24 weeks. Abortion would remain subject to regulatory and professional standards and treated as a medical rather than a criminal issue.