At least one new hub specialising in women’s health is to be launched across every integrated care system (ICS) in England, a letter from the government and chief nursing officer has confirmed.
It follows a £25m investment announced in March and will see each integrated care board (ICB) given £595,000 to help set the hubs up.
The hubs intend to ensure better access to care for menstrual problems, contraception, pelvic pain and menopause and could also offer cervical screening.
A letter sent to ICB chief executives earlier this month, signed by chief nursing officer for England Dame Ruth May and ministers, encouraged systems to ‘make full use of your funding allocation to accelerate progress’.
Systems can use the funding to establish a new hub or expand an existing hub – either geographically or in terms of services offered.
The letter said the hubs would bring together healthcare professionals and existing services ‘to provide integrated women’s health services in the community’, focusing on improving access to care and reducing health inequalities.
It added that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England, ICSs and other women’s stake holders were working together to ‘develop resources to help encourage their expansion’ and that a ‘commissioning specification’ for the hubs would be published in the autumn.
Recognising that there was no ‘one size fits all’ approach to women’s health hubs, the letter said: ‘It is important that services are provided in a way that best meets population needs and reduces health inequalities.’
ICBs have also nominated individuals from their area to join a new ‘national network of women’s health champions’, which is co-chaired by deputy chief nursing officer for England, Professor Charlotte McArdle and women’s health ambassador for England, Professor Dame Lesley Regan.
A version of this article first appeared in our sister publication Pulse.