It is very exciting and a huge privilege that Verity sit on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health (WHAPPG) but given the current climate it has a limited scope in what it can acheive. The WHAPPG has been instrumental in tackling the issue of period poverty and providing free menstrual products in schools. It has already had targeted campaigns on endometriosis and fibroids as well as women’s heart health. Verity have made many approaches to the Chair of the WHAPPG for PCOS as an issue. Verity trustee Alison Wilcox when attending the 2019 WHAPPG held one to one discussions with the Chair of WHAPPG (Paula Sheriff), Womens Health Minister (Jackie Doyle Price) & Jon Ashworth (shadow Secretary of State for Health) about PCOS, the impact on women’s health and what support the NHS can offer to improve the health & wellbeing of women with PCOS. Verity has benefitted from having a stand at one of the WHAPPG to profile the diagnosis & charity to statutory, voluntary & charities. The then women’s Health Minister spent time at the Verity stand & appreciated Caroline Andrews Trustee & Alison Wilcox Trustee briefing. The WHAPPG is currently being re formed under new leadership.
From the twitter account of the WHAPPG is the following statement:
The APPG on Women’s Health – with the consent of the Officers – will be re-established in early 2020. There is a well publicised cabinet reshuffle so we all need to wait to know who will be the Women’s Health minister. The APPG chair was Paula Sheriff, Labour MP who was not re elected in the recent general election. So like everyone we just need to wait to be informed who will be appointed to this vacant position.So Verity alongside all the other charities will be waiting to be informed of the new APPG and date of the first 2020 meeting. These events are on a weekday so the trustee representing will be taking annual leave to attend. We will be there!
Also, in addition to political profile & presence Verity was invited to the Royal College of Obstetrics & gynaecology (RCOG) workshop in May 2019 on menstrual wellbeing which was designed to inform the Women’s Health Taskforce. These workshops are focused on a range of topics and aim to give insight and bring women’s experience to the Taskforce’s understanding of key issues in women’s health. The Women’s Task Force launched November 2018 consisting of political departments and policy makers. The women’s health minister and president of the RCOG chair the TaskForce. The workshop was chaired by the then president of the RCOG Professor Lesley Regan. Verity trustee Alison Wilcox participated in this workshop alongside other women’s charities.
From that workshop attendance Alison Wilcox Trustee was asked to write an article on sharing experiences around menstrual wellbeing which was published in the RCOG Women’s Voices newsletter August 2019. Alison shared her experiences of years and years of abnormal uterine bleeding. The impact on her health, work and life in general.
Later in September 2019 Verity was approached by RCOG to provide written evidence to the Menstrual Health Coalition (MHC) on heavy menstrual bleeding inquiry. The MHC is a coalition of Parliamentarians, patient & advocate groups, industry and clinicians to raise the profile of menstrual health on the political & policy agenda. The evidence was needed to publish a best practice report focusing on the patient pathway and using examples of best practice across the country. Alison Wilcox Trustee completed & submitted the pro forma for written evidence on behalf of all women with PCOS.
The plan for 2020 is to attend the newly formed WHAPPG when a date is announced. And, maintain our good relationships with the RCOG. Alison Wilcox Trustee is a member of the closed FaceBook RCOG Women’s Voices group and monitors all content regards opportunities to profile PCOS and further the work of Verity.
So to assure everyone Verity is very proactive in the right forums that do make the difference to women’s health: especially PCOS.
First, we need the outcome of the cabinet reshuffle and the reforming of the WHAPPG!