In January, the Women’s Health team and Government Affairs met with Feryal Clark, Shadow Minister for Women’s Health and Primary Care, and Labour MP for Enfield North at the Contraception Clinic of London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, to discuss some of the most pressing issues in sexual and reproductive health services.
The discussion, hosted by Dr Naomi Hampton, Sexual and Reproductive Health Lead at the London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, centred around challenges and possible solutions to improve access to women’s health services for all women and girls. Key topics included the barriers that prevent collaborative commissioning, how to improve access to contraception.
Ms Clark highlighted the importance of continuing to make women’s health a policy priority, and the need to further collaborate with companies like Bayer and healthcare professionals to address these gaps, including urging the government to publish the delayed Sexual and Reproductive Health Action Plan.
“It was a pleasure to host Feryal Clark MP and the Bayer team for a discussion on improving access to contraception. The visit allowed us to demonstrate the work we are doing at our Contraception Clinics and to observe the challenges we face first-hand. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to highlight these issues with senior policymakers and raise the profile of contraception, which must be a priority for the Government,” said Dr Naomi Hampton. “Access to good contraceptive provision is essential to supporting women in the workplace, a priority in the Women's Health Strategy – many women need contraception choice to help them continue to work and stay in the workplace.”
Last summer, Bayer welcomed the publication of the Women’s Health Strategy by the UK Government. Yet there are gaps in sexual and reproductive health services that need to be addressed urgently. Recent NHS data shows that since 2015, there has been a 48% decline in contacts with sexual and reproductive health services,1 with the number of clinics offering a service falling from more than 850 in 2015 to fewer than 400 in 2021-22.2 Bayer has been calling on the government and all involved in Women’s Health to build on the strategy and deliver on its commitment to increase access and choice for all women who want contraception, with clear and accountable plans to deliver improvements in sexual and reproductive health service provision.
Shobhna Ladva, Franchise Manager Women’s Health, said: “this meeting highlighted some of the real issues in contraception access for women and demonstrated the need for support from MPs who can help create the right level of noise to drive change. I feel privileged to be part of the conversation with like-minded people who are passionate about finding solutions and believe this is a great start to bringing about the change we all want to see. It is also the reason why we, as a leader in Women’s Health, should continue to push for more collaborations like this with our stakeholders.”
- NHS Digital SRHAD data. Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/sexual-and-reproductive-health-services/2021-22. Accessed January 2023.
- NHS Sexual and Reproductive Health Services Data tables 2015/16 and 2021/22. Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/sexual-and-reproductive-health-services. Accessed January 2023.
COR-UN-WHC-GB-0001 / February 2023