Reflections

Dr Olwen Williams

3rd September 2018

As the new academic year starts, I’ve been reflecting on how I felt, 40 years ago, as I entered Medical School in Liverpool and on how different it is for those embarking on their medical career today. I was fascinated by the accounts of global partner notification given by Dr Elizabeth Rees, Consultant Venereologist at the Seamen’s Dispensary. What will inspire the next generation to enter into our specialty?


The future of our speciality has been very much in the forefront of the activities of the BASHH officers over the summer. In preparation for our submission to the Parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee Inquiry into Sexual Health, we sent out a questionnaire to all members -291 responses were received. Thank you for your vital contribution. The results will not surprise you:


More than 9 in 10 survey respondents (92%) said that they were worried or extremely worried about the future delivery of sexual health care in England over the next year. 81% of respondents felt that staff morale had decreased within their service in the past year, with almost half (49%) reporting that morale had ‘greatly decreased’. I did an impromptu Q&A session at the SAS Conference in Keele, which highlighted how despondent our member had become.


We will give full access of the results to members via the BASHH members webpage and they will also form a central part of our submission to the inquiry, and our ongoing lobbying efforts.


In the meantime, we have continued to engage the media on the pressures services are facing, working jointly with the LGA to feature across the front pages of national newspapers in recent weeks, helping to boost our ‘Save our Sexual Health Services’ petition to 8,000 signatures.


The Clinical Standards Unit under the direction of Dr Raj Patel have produced the draft Standards for Online & Remote Providers of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare Services in partnership with the FSRH. These are currently out for public consultation until October 2nd and are available online here. The CSU is also in the process of updating the Standards for the Management of Sexually Transmitted Infections (MEDFASH) which is an essential document for our commissioners to refer to.


Public Health England has convened a PrEP Commissioning planning group and a Cervical screening in Sexual Health Service group. I will keep you updated on outcomes of these two work streams.


As part of the RCP London 500-year celebrations, I’m also delighted to announce that our immediate past president Dr Elizabeth Carlin will be giving a talk at the 1518-2018: Historical Reflections conference on October 26th. Further details on the programme and how you can attend are available online here.


Finally, at our last Board meeting, we sadly said goodbye to Dr Daniel Richardson, who has now stepped down as Communications and Conference Secretary. Daniel has done an amazing job these past few years and he will be sadly missed. He has however handed the baton to the hugely capable Dr Claire Dewsnap, who has already enrolled me to open the Spring meeting on June 30th 2019 in Birmingham!


Looking forward to seeing you at our scientific meetings.


Dr Olwen Williams
BASHH President

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