The FSRH launches its 2024 General Election FSRH Hatfield Vision Manifesto and calls on the next Government to improve the health of the 51%

Posted 7 June 2024

Date: 07 Jun 2024

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

With a month to go until polling day, the FSRH is delighted to launch the FSRH Hatfield Vision Manifesto.

This Manifesto represents the consensus view of 60 organisations who endorse the FSRH Hatfield Vision, including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, the Local Government Association, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and many more, truly providing a view representing the entire sexual and reproductive healthcare as well as women’s health sectors.

The FSRH is calling on the next Government to take this opportunity to improve the health of the 51% and make women’s reproductive health a priority in their new policy agenda.

It urges the next Government to: 

1. Introduce a dedicated Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and commit to continuing the Women’s Health Strategy.

2. Improve access to the full range of contraceptives for all people in the location of their choosing.

3. Ensure education and information about sexual and reproductive health is easily accessible and available to all throughout their life course.

4. Tackle sexual and reproductive health disparities faced by Black women and women of colour.

5. Ensure Community Sexual and Reproductive Health training posts are fully funded.

These manifesto proposals are practical, achievable, and will bring significant returns on investment to the public purse. Above all, they will help to enable all people to access the sexual and reproductive healthcare services they so urgently need.

As it stands, we know that across the UK too many women and people cannot access high-quality Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (SRH) services - with almost half of all pregnancies in the UK being ambivalent or unplanned.1

We also know that women have unique needs across their life course, and steep disparities exist between different groups of women. For example, maternal mortality for Black women is currently almost four times higher than for White women, and significant disparities also exist for women of Asian and mixed ethnicity. Furthermore, women from the most deprived backgrounds are almost three times more likely to have abortions than women from the wealthiest backgrounds.3

These inequalities are preventable and avoidable with the right policies in place.

This is why the FSRH launched the FSRH Hatfield Vision in 2022 – to set out what needs to be achieved to improve the health of 51% of the UK’s population and tackle the inequalities that women, girls and SRH service users face across their lifetime.

It has been endorsed by 60 sector-leading organisations, including the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Wellbeing of Women, and the British Pregnancy and Advisory Service.

Hatfield Vision Endorsers logos

This FSRH Hatfield Vision Manifesto is a call to the next Government to make this shared vision a reality.

With a quarter of women undecided on how they would vote at the general election, and nearly two thirds of women naming health and the NHS as the most important issue in deciding their vote, the FSRH urges the next Government to take this opportunity and prioritise women’s reproductive health in their policy agenda.4

Dr Janet Barter, President of the FSRH:

" With one month to go until the general election, we are delighted to launch the FSRH Hatfield Vision Manifesto. We know that access to high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) is absolutely crucial for all women, and all people, to live well across their life course. Yet for far too long, it has not received the attention it deserves and urgently needs.

The FSRH, along with 60 endorsing organisations of the FSRH Hatfield Vision, call on the next Government to make a clear commitment to act and ensure people across the UK are able to access the high-quality SRH services they need.
As a start, the next Government must introduce a dedicated Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy that will sit alongside a continued Women’s Health Strategy. This Strategy must look to urgently address the growing unmet need for contraception currently evident across the UK.

We know that essential SRH services across the country are proving increasingly challenging to access, particularly for people living in the most deprived areas of the country. The proportion of unplanned pregnancies in the UK has almost doubled since the first COVID-19 lockdown, and the most recent data show teenage conception rates in England and Wales are continuing to rise since 2021 – reversing the previous fourteen years of decline.5

We need a Government that understands the profound impact of poor SRH on individuals, families and communities, and a Government who shares our passion about turning the shared goal of access to high-quality SRH services for all into reality. A Government that understands that there are unparalleled financial benefits to tackling the unmet need for contraception; Public Health England’s analysis tells us that there is a £9 saving for every £1 spent.6

We stand ready to work with the next Government to build a future where everyone is able to access the essential services they need and has the power to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing.

Gary Waltham, Chief Executive Officer of the FSRH:

" At the FSRH we are absolutely committed to enabling our members to deliver high-quality SRH for all. The FSRH Strategy for 2023-2026 is underpinned by this commitment and ensuring members have the necessary skills, knowledge and support to make this a reality.

This is why we are so pleased to launch the FSRH Hatfield Vision Manifesto which puts our Strategy into action, and advocates for our members to be able to deliver the best possible care, the highest standards of SRH and to be part of a sustainable and valued workforce.

These principles are shared by our colleagues across the sector, with nearly 60 leading organisations endorsing the FSRH Hatfield Vision demonstrating the powerful consensus behind our call for urgent action and strong leadership on this.

As champions for the ambition of the FSRH Hatfield Vision and this Manifesto, we call on the next Government to invest in women’s reproductive health now for a healthy future for us all."

Dr Aziza Sesay, Ambassador for the FSRH Hatfield Vision:

I’m thrilled to be an ambassador for the FSRH Hatfield Vision. As a GP, I have witnessed how the lack of education and health awareness within specific communities severely impact outcomes faced particularly surrounding women’s health.

The plethora of health misinformation and myths that are perpetuated especially through social media is dangerous. Thus, it is a privilege to support the FSRH in creating evidence-based, scientific and accurate health content which is easily accessible and available to all throughout their life course.” 

For more information about the manifesto, please email hatfieldvision@fsrh.org.

Read the Manifesto in full Take a look at our Manifesto overview

Notes

  • 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.
  • The FSRH Hatfield Vision was launched in 2022, as a legacy of the late Jane Hatfield, the first CEO of the FSRH, who initiated the Vision concept and worked tirelessly to improve the quality of reproductive healthcare that every woman, girl and SRH service user receives.
  • You can read the FSRH Hatfield Vision in full, and the full list of endorsing organisations.
  • To get involved and support the FSRH Hatfield Vision, please email hatfieldvision@fsrh.org.

References

  1. Health matters: reproductive health and pregnancy planning - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  2. MBRRACE UK, Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care: Lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2019–21
  3. Women from poorer backgrounds three times more likely to have abortions - The Guardian
  4. The WBG: Not your average voter? How women will shape the general election.
  5. Impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on access to contraception and pregnancy intentions (BMJ); Quarterly conceptions to women aged under 18 years, England and Wales - Office for National Statistics; Office for National Statistics release England and Wales conception data for under-18s, January to June 2022 - Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (fsrh.org)
  6. Extending Public Health England’s contraception return on investment tool: Maternity and primary care settings (PHE)