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Policy update, May 2017

This is your monthly round-up of recent national health policy developments for 13 April to 12 May.

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

News/Announcements

The Prime Minister has announced a snap general election, which has been approved by Parliament and will take place on Thursday 8 June.

The Queen has formally dissolved Parliament and there will be no parliamentary activity until 13 June, when the new MPs will take up their posts. Although the Prime Minister and departmental Ministers will continue their roles, Government has entered a period of ‘purdah’, where public announcements and materials are carefully restricted so as not to appear party political and affect the election.

The Children and Social Work Act 2017, which introduced legislation to make sexual and reproductive health mandatory in all schools in the UK, has passed and received Royal Assent. From September 2019, schools will now have to provide sexual and reproductive health education.

NHS England is asking hospital retailers to reduce sales of sugary drinks to 10% or less of their total drink sales over the coming year. If retailers fail to act, NHS England will implement a complete ban on sales of sugary drinks in hospitals. They are also introducing new national incentives for hospitals to improve food on their premises including making sure healthy food options are available at all times, including for those working night shifts.

The Citizen’s Assembly in Ireland, a group of 99 lay members, have voted that the eighth amendment of the constitution restricting abortion services, should not be retained. In additional ballots, a majority of members went on to recommend that the termination of pregnancy without restriction should be lawful, a near reversal of Ireland’s existing rules. A cross-party Parliamentary group will now consider the Citizen’s Assembly vote and the next steps going forward.