Examination of Witnesses (Questions 137-139)|
WEDNESDAY 10 JULY 2002
Mr Burns: Can I start by thanking you all very
much indeed for coming to this session of the Health Select Committee.
Can I give an apology on behalf of the Chairman of this Committee
who, unfortunately, highly unusually because he has an almost
100 per cent attendance record, cannot be here due to a pressing
and unavoidable appointment in his constituency. I am afraid you
have the monkey rather than the organ grinder.Jim Dowd: Hear!
137. Thank you, colleagues! I would be very
grateful if we could start with each one of you just briefly introducing
(Ms Weyman) I am Anne Weyman, I am Chief Executive
(Dr Randall) I am Sarah Randall, a consultant in contraception
and reproductive health from Portsmouth.
(Dr Guthrie) I am Kate Guthrie, I am a consultant
in sexual health from East Yorkshire.
(Ms Thomas) I am Jane Thomas. I am Director of the
National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health.
(Mr Jones) I am Ian Jones, Chief Executive of the
British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
(Ms Davies) I am Liz Davies, UK Director of Marie
138. Thank you very much. Can I begin, please,
just by asking each of you, briefly, whether you are satisfied
that the Sexual Health Strategy and recently published action
plan are adequate to address the sexual health issues facing this
(Ms Weyman) Obviously we welcome very much the Strategy
but we do think there are a number of issues about it. I think
there is an issue about how people regard sexual health and what
it is and whether it is something positive to do with the positive
aspect of people's health and well-being or whether it is about
services, the sort of services which are described in the Strategy,
or whether it is just about services related such as sexually
transmitted infections. I think that confusion tends to be around.
To some extent if you read the Strategy sometimes it is not always
integrated across all the different areas or as much about promoting
well-being as it might be. That particularly comes when you talk
about the areas around psycho-sexual services which are very great.
Two other key issues are around resources, which was discussed
quite a lot in the previous meeting and the issue of training
for professionals. I am sure those are issues we are going to
say more about this afternoon. My final point would be that I
think coming from within Government it does not always look as
far ahead as it might to changes that there could be due to changes
in technology, changes in professional practice and the possibilities
that they can give for having services which are both better for
the user and possibly also more cost-effective.
139. Dr Randall?
(Dr Randall) Thank you. Yes, like Anne, I welcome
the Strategy but I do think that since it has been combined with
the HIV and AIDS one it has been somewhat watered down. It is
interesting that in the five aims which are noted in the Strategy
the word contraception is not actually mentioned. Four of the
aims are to do with HIV and STIs and one is to do with abortion.
Contraception just seems to have disappeared. After all, if you
had good contraception we would not be here to keep out abortions.
I think that is perhaps worth thinking about. I feel, also, there
is a lack of anything about standards for contraception, again
there are targets on the HIV and STI side but not for contraception.
Also perhaps what teeth this document is going to have at the
end of the day to drive standards up.