Supplementary memorandum by fpa (HA 8A)
In his evidence, Professor Kinghorn referred
to the training programme that will be needed to ensure that there
is a sufficient number of professionals in GUM, family planning
and general practice to deliver the Government's commitments in
the White Paper for sexual health.
In addition, health trainers will require training
if they are to provide sexual health advice as envisaged by the
White Paper. Myths and misinformation about contraception and
other sexual health issues abound. Furthermore, training for sexual
health work is not only about knowledge; attitudes, values and
communication skills are crucial too, fpa is the only national
organisation that provides this aspect of sexual health training.
Training was not mentioned in the announcement
about the funding for the sexual health component of the White
Paper and currently there is not any assessment of the likely
costs involved. Professor Kinghorn suggested that the Department
of Health should have a budget to support the training programme.
fpa totally supports his view as we believe that this will ensure
quality and prevent duplication of effort.
This issue is part of a larger question about
the role of the Department of Health in the implementation of
the White Paper commitments and the need for the Department to
have a budget for this purpose. There are certain activities that
are better undertaken at a national level and that need to be
A key area is the provision of information for
the public and to support professional consultations. For example,
fpa is currently funded by the Department of Health to provide
Sexual Health Direct, a comprehensive sexual health information
service, which includes a helpline and the production of leaflets
on the major STIs, all methods of contraception and abortion.
These leaflets are a highly cost effective way of meeting the
need for authoritative written information for use by professionals
to back up the advice they give in face-to-face consultations,
as good practice requires.
This, and similar programmes undertaken by national
sexual health charities, would be threatened by any further reduction
of the Department of Health's sexual health budget and this could
in turn undermine the long term viability of these organisations.
The Government has stressed the significance of the voluntary
sector in achieving its social policy goals and it is vitally
important that the role of specialist national organisations is
recognised and continues to be appropriately funded.