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Policy update, February 2017

This is your monthly round-up of recent national health policy developments for 16 January to 10 February.

If you have any comments or if there is anything else you would like to see in the round-up please contact us at

News and announcements 

  • The Government has released its Brexit white paper, The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union, which sets out the Government’s goals for its negotiations with the EU. Plans include a new trade arrangement, a system to control EU migration, increased powers for devolved nations and a secure agreement for expats and the rights of EU nationals living in the UK. If you have any views or comments, please send these to Karina Russell at 


  • Announced in February 2015, the Scottish Government has published its review into maternity and neonatal services in Scotland, The Best Start. The report sets out the Case for Change for maternity and neonatal services in Scotland, describing current services; provides details of the review process and its findings, based on underlying principles; and describes a new model of care supported by a series of recommendations. The review recommends:
    • Continuity of carer
    • Putting mother and baby at the centre of care
    • Improved multi-professional working
    • Safe, high quality, accessible care – including local delivery of services and availability of choice
    • A new model of neonatal intensive care services
    • Ways of supporting the service changes – including transport services, remote and rural care, workforce, education and training 
  • The Government has responded to the Women and Equalities Committee report on pregnancy and maternity discrimination announcing there would be ‘zero tolerance’ of discrimination against expectant or new mothers in the workplace. The Government plans to consult on options to make sure there are sufficient protections against redundancy in place for working mothers.
  • The Public Accounts Committee has advised the Government to take urgent action to recover more money in their report, NHS treatment for overseas patients. The report argues that if the NHS does not recover the costs of treating patients who are not entitled to free care, there is less money available to treat other people and even more pressure on NHS finances.
  • Following this, the Department of Health (DH) released its response to a consultation on the extension of charging overseas visitors and migrants using the NHS in England. The responses proposed that from April 2017 non-exempt overseas visitors will be chargeable for secondary and community care services and NHS-funded secondary care delivered by non-NHS bodies. DH also propose that all NHS providers will have to charge overseas visitors upfront and in full for any care not deemed to be ‘urgent’ or ‘immediately necessary’. The RCOG recently submitted evidence to the Department of Health on its views about overseas charging. If you would like to discuss the college's position, please contact Annette Ashley at


RCOG Statements

  • Following the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule in the United States, the College has issued a statement in response. The RCOG supports the rights of women and girls across the world to access safe, high-quality family planning, contraception, abortion and post-abortion services, always working within the local legal framework and respecting the diversity of personal opinion among members and society.