We respond to Health Education England (HEE) Strategic Framework Call for Evidence 2021

Posted 7 September 2021

Date: 07 Sep 2021

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

Health Education England was commissioned to review the long-term strategic framework for Health and Social Care workforce planning. We responded to their call for evidence.

In our response, we stressed that urgent action is required to stop the impending crisis facing the sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) Specialty . The Specialty has experienced a decade-long deficit in training numbers. Community Sexual and Reproductive Health (CSRH) has been challenged by insufficient Trainee numbers since its establishment in 2010. HEE has recognised that training numbers are small and unlikely to provide the service required for the future.

From 2018 to 2020, more than half of advertised CSRH Consultant posts across England were left unfilled because they did not have applicants, or because applicants from other specialties did not have the competences required.

The CSRH Consultant workforce is also retiring at a larger rate than CCTing Trainees. Our Specialty team has heard from many FSRH Consultant members that they don’t feel they can retire because there is no one that will be able to fill their post.

Our plan to increase the supply of Consultants is practical and achievable, and we have capacity to deliver it. We would like to see one new or extra fully funded training post per HEE region each year for 3 years. This would allow recruitment at ST3, attracting doctors from Specialties with high attrition-rates such as Obstetrics & Gynaecology as well as those who have completed training in General Practice, but would like to pursue a career as leaders in women’s health.

In our response, we also highlighted training challenges in primary care. GPs and their teams play a vital role in the provision of contraceptive care to patients in their local communities, with 80% of women accessing contraception at their local GP surgery. Yet access to long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC), the most effective methods to prevent unplanned pregnancies, is restricted as a result of fragmented commissioning, a lack of funding available for its provision and reduced capacity in general practice, with fewer GPs and practice nurses training or retaining essential skills in this area.

You can read our response in full here.