Women's health group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Women's Health Group.


The Women’s Health Group will work together to develop, promote and implement a Women’s Health Plan.  The Plan will underpin actions to tackle women’s health inequalities by:   

  • raising awareness around women’s health 
  • improving access to healthcare for women across the life course 
  • reducing inequalities in health outcomes for girls and women, including gender-based inequalities both for sex-specific conditions and in women’s general health 


The Women’s Health Group will be chaired by Marion Bain, Interim Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Scotland. The Vice Chair will be Corinne Love, Senior Medical Officer, Scottish Government.

The membership of the Group will include representation from the following specialities or organisations:  

  • Scottish Government (Marion Bain/Corinne Love)  
  • contraception/sexual health service for young women  
  • menopause  
  • cardiac disease 
  • Royal College of General Practitioners 
  • Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 
  • nursing/midwifery  
  • Scottish Directors of Public Health  
  • National Advisory Council on Women and Girls  
  • Healthcare Improvement Scotland 
  • NHS Education for Scotland  
  • The Health and Social Care Alliance  
  • communications/media  

The Group may also establish sub-groups to focus on specific topics, and may call on representatives from other organisations as required including but not limited to:    

  • Scottish Government policy leads 
  • Chief Scientist Office 
  • third sector and other groups covering specific topic areas 
  • ISD  

A “User Group” sub-group will be established to include the following members: 

  • Scottish Health Council nominee 
  • two people with lived experience, including a young person  

Membership of sub-groups will be determined by the chairs of these groups.  

Terms of reference

Building on the work already being undertaken across Scottish Government, NHSScotland and the Third Sector the Group will:   

  • provide a focal point for discussion, leadership and direction to focus policy development and quality improvements on the needs of all women across Scotland 
  • link strategically with other developments and policy areas across the Scottish Government as appropriate to ensure women’s health and wellbeing is considered in policy output by the Scottish Government 
  • identify gaps in the provision of services, consider existing areas of best practice and develop actions to address these gaps  
  • produce a Women’s Health Plan 
  • support health boards, local authorities, partner agencies and professional organisations to work collaboratively to ensure services best meet women’s health needs 

Frequency of meetings 

The core group will meet quarterly. The secretariat will be provided by the Scottish Government. Additional meetings and any sub-group meetings will be convened as required.  


A Women’s Health Plan will cover a wide range of issues across a woman’s life course. The initial priorities for the Group will be:  

  • ensure rapid and easily-accessible postnatal contraception  
  • improve access to abortion and contraception services for young women  
  • improve services for women undergoing the menopause, including increasing the understanding and knowledge of women, families, healthcare professionals and employers   
  • reduce inequalities in health outcomes which affect women, such as endometriosis and antenatal care 
  • reduce inequalities in health outcomes for women’s general health, including work on cardiac disease  


The Chair of the Group will be accountable to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport. 

February 2020 

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