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RCOG responds to Women’s Health Strategy Vision

News 23 December 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care has today released a vision document which set out areas of government commitments to women’s health in England.

The vision has outlined six key areas to prioritise, which aim to improve women’s health across the life course. The Women’s Health Strategy is expected to be published in 2022.

The Government also committed to banning hymenoplasty to protect women and girls from harm.

Responding to the Women’s Health Strategy Vision, Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

“We’re pleased see the Government have today set out their vision for improving women’s health in England. They have set out a positive vision that includes plans to improve care and support to women across the life-course. This is something we’ve called for in our Better for Women report.

“We support the inclusion of gynaecological conditions as a priority in this vision. The pandemic has disproportionately affected waiting lists in gynaecology, and the Women’s Health Strategy due out in 2022 should aim to reduce these as rapidly and equitably as possible. We know that many healthcare professionals currently feel that they are unable to deliver the quality of care that women deserve. The pandemic has amplified the need for extra funding and resources to support healthcare professionals provide the best quality of care.

“It is vital that women feel listened to by healthcare professionals and it’s concerning to see 8 in 10 do not feel this way. We hope that the strong response from over 100,000 women to the Government’s call for evidence will inform each step of the Women’s Health Strategy, and that this input will reduce the disparities in care that women experience. Every woman should have access to high quality care when they need it.

“We look forward to working with the appointed Women’s Health Ambassador to action this strategy.”

 

Responding to commitment to ban of hymenoplasty, Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

“We welcome the Government’s decision to ban hymenoplasty in the UK. Following the ban of virginity testing earlier this year, both of these harmful practices are to be made illegal, as neither have any place in the medical world.

“We have been campaigning for the ban of virginity testing and hymenoplasty alongside women’s health and rights charities, as they are inextricably linked forms of violence against women and girls.

“Women deserve to have ownership over their own sexual and reproductive health. We are very concerned that women in vulnerable and desperate situations are being coerced or pressurised into having these procedures to prove that they are a virgin. The ban of both of these procedures will help to eradicate harmful beliefs which place false value on a person’s virginity.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)7740 175342 or email pressoffice@rcog.org.uk.

Notes to editor

About the RCOG

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of 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.