06 November 2019
On 22 July 2019, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) published the prevention green paper, setting out proposals for the future direction of a prevention strategy.
The paper – Advancing our health: Prevention in the 2020s – was published directly before former Prime Minister Theresa May’s departure from No.10 and without the blessing of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock.
With regards to women’s health, the green paper emphasises the important role of local authorities, acknowledging that there have been good examples of ‘creative and energetic’ commissioning. It maintains the important role of local authorities and steers them towards a more joined-up way of working with the NHS, as based on existing best practices from across the country. Here, Integrated Care Systems (ICS) are showcased as a good opportunity for improving integration and serving as a natural way forward for commissioning in sexual and reproductive health.
While the paper did not explicitly discuss women’s reproductive rights or menstrual health policy, it did suggest that it may be time for a new strategy, as previously called for by Westminster’s Health and Social Care Committee.
This paper is complimented by the recent publication of 6 LGA case studies - Sexual health commissioning in local government, which highlights six areas around the country where collaborative commissioning has been successful. Among these, all but one (Cheshire and Merseyside) had some focus on LARC and HMB, including Teesside, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham, Gloucestershire, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Plymouth.
The emphasis on solutions should provide opportunities for renewed engagement on LARC uptake with our stakeholders and supports the access and new models of care strategy.