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RCOG release: Human rights and women’s health at the RCOG

News 5 March 2014

This year’s International Women’s Day event at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) on Friday 7 March 2014, will focus on the importance of human rights in women’s health.

To celebrate this important day, our event includes talks from leading figures in the field of human rights in medical practice, including a keynote speech by Baroness Kinnock and a presentation by Mr Bertie Leigh, Senior Partner at Hempsons Solicitors. Both patients and professionals will benefit from attending this event to gain a better understanding of how a human rights approach is an essential part of the quality healthcare that all professionals aspire to provide for their patients.

Baroness Kinnock is Vice President of the Associate Parliamentary Group on Sudan and South Sudan and was formerly a member of the European Parliament. She has served as Britain's minister for Africa and minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She is also a council member of the Overseas Development Institute.

Mr Bertie Leigh has been a legal advisor to the RCOG for the past 30 years and specialises in medical negligence and has extensive experience in obstetric and gynaecological claims. He has been part of the RCOG Medical Ethics Committee and was former President of the Medico-Legal Society. He currently is President of the Society for Ethics and Law (SELM) and Chairman of the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD).

Professor Lesley Regan, Chair of the FIGO Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights Committee and newly appointed Vice President for Strategic Development at the RCOG, will lead an introductory workshop on integrating human rights into women’s health. This workshop will equip delegates with the knowledge and tools they need to start implementing a human rights approach in their delivery of healthcare to women.

The workshop will demonstrate how easily the FIGO Checklist for Quality Care can be used in daily practice. This simple and effective tool helps identify a patient’s right to high quality healthcare, including the right to life, privacy, confidentiality, autonomy, non-discrimination, freedom from torture and degrading treatment and to benefit from scientific advances.

Professor Regan emphasised how this event will improve the standards of healthcare and empower women. She said:

“Women should know about their rights when accessing healthcare. We need to empower them with the knowledge they need to help us protect and preserve their fundamental rights.

“It is crucial that all healthcare professionals, whether they be in the UK or in developing countries, understand how a rights based approach leads to higher quality healthcare for women.

“The FIGO checklist can be used with ease on a day-to-day basis ensuring that a consideration of human rights is embedded in our delivery of healthcare for women.”


Join us to celebrate International Women’s Day and learn more about human rights in women’s health. The event is free but registration is essential. If you would like to register your interest to attend this event at the RCOG, please email

Follow us on Twitter for news on our event @RCObsGyn #IWD2014 #RCOG