Commenting on the announcement made on Tuesday 18th August by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to restructure Public Health England (PHE) into the National Institute for Health Protection, Dr Ranee Thakar, Senior Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:
“In a time of huge challenges and uncertainty in the health and social care sector as we fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision to redesign Public Health England is a risk.
“The greater emphasis on health protection is welcomed during this time, but we must not lose our focus on improving the public health of the nation, which is not only beneficial in terms of the pandemic, but is incredibly important for the present and future health of women, their babies and their families.
“As we called for in our Better for women report, nationwide initiatives to decrease smoking during pregnancy, reduce obesity during the life course and increase access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services are incredibly important for the ongoing health and wellbeing of women, as well as being cost-saving for the NHS. Public Health England has made good progress in these areas. It is therefore imperative that the ‘prevention’ element of this body is not lost and we have clarity about who has overarching responsibility for these vital priority areas.”
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About the RCOG
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.