This report looks at how NHS women’s health services could be configured to provide high quality, safe and timely care against a backdrop of NHS reform, financial and workforce pressures and increasing complexity of women’s health care, all of which means the current structures cannot be sustained.
The report’s key recommendations include:
- Services should be provided in managed clinical networks which link primary, community, secondary and tertiary services
- A life-course approach to women’s health care should be adopted using every interaction a woman has with the health service, irrespective of age, to promote health and lifestyle rather than the constant firefight against disease and ill health
- The variation in health service provision needs resolving by universally adopting clinical standards, guidelines and mandating the reporting of outcomes
- Pressures on the workforce due to the Working Time Regulation and trainee numbers will need different service configuration and will lead to a reduction in the number of medically staffed units to ensure a safe service
- A national clinical director in women’s health should be appointed to lead on the quality agenda and ensure that service configuration, workforce and commissioning issues are championed in women’s health care
The review was undertaken by the RCOG’s Expert Advisory Group chaired by Dame Joan Higgins.