Women’s Health Plan Implementation Programme Board minutes: May 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 17 May 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • Marion Bain (Chair) Scottish Government
  • Corinne Love (Vice Chair), Scottish Government
  • Andrew Horne, University of Edinburgh
  • Anna Glasier, Women’s Health Champion, Scottish Government
  • Catherine Murphy, Engender
  • Colin Duncan, Academy of Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland
  • Felicity Sung, Scottish Government
  • Greig Chalmers, Scottish Government
  • Heather Currie, NHS Dumfries and Galloway
  • Irene Oldfather, Health and Social Care Alliance
  • Isabel Steele, NHS Western Isles (item 5)
  • Jaki Lambert,  Royal College of Midwives in Scotland
  • Jim Miller, NHS 24, and NHS Board Chief Executives
  • Joanna Swanson, attending on behalf of Linda Pollock, Scottish Government
  • Justine Craig, Scottish Government
  • Karen Leonard, GMB Union
  • Kathleen Riach, University of Glasgow (item 6)
  • Kirsty Brightwell, Scottish Association of Medical Director
  • Louise Carroll, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (item 5)
  • Lynn Railston, Public Health Scotland
  • Lynne McNiven, Scottish Directors of Public Health
  • Maggie Simpson, NHS Golden Jubilee
  • Maria Pollard, NHS Education for Scotland
  • Patricia Moultrie, British Medical Association
  • Richmond Davies, Public Health Scotland
  • Ross Sanderson, Royal College for Nursing (deputising for Nicola Gordon)

Items and actions

Welcome and update

The Chair welcomed everyone to the fifth meeting of the Women’s Health Plan Implementation Programme Board, and welcomed two new members who included Professor Anna Glasier OBE, the Women’s Health Champion, and Richmond Davies, the new representative for Public Health Scotland. An update was given on the newly appointed Ministers and the Chair gave a short recap on the role and remit of the board for new members. The previous meeting minutes are now accessible online with future meeting minutes continuing to be published online. It was noted that the outstanding actions from the previous meeting are now closed.

Women's Health Plan and NHS delivery plan update

A Scottish Government official from the Women’s Health Plan team provided an update on the inclusion of the Women’s Health Plan in the NHS Annual Delivery Plans. 

Women's Health Plan programme update

A Scottish Government official from the Women’s Health Plan team gave an update on the Women’s Health Plan Programme. They provided an update on the Women’s Health Plan Programme governance structure, and the sub-groups that have been set up to help facilitate the delivery of the plan, along with the role of the Women’s Health Champion and National networks. Going forward the subgroups will provide a short paper to the implementation board on their progress. An update was provided on the current programme status, and the risks and issues identified in the Programme Report (paper 1). The overall RAG Status is currently ‘amber’ for the Programme, with work progressing. All short term actions have now been commenced with many complete. The medium term actions are on track. It was noted that some of the medium term actions are more complex, and will require time and support from the board. Scoping work has begun on the longer term actions. Through our report on progress, published in January 2023, and the first Women’s Health Champion quarterly blog in April 2023, the Women's Health Plan team continue to communicate with external stakeholders on the progress of the implementation of the Women’s Health Plan. The Women’s Health Champion quarterly blog will provide a more regular update on what is happening and highlight any output or publications related to the implementation of the Women’s Health Plan. The next blog is due to be published in July. The Women’ Health Champion is has been visiting NHS boards, to hear about their work on women’s health and members who may be interested in any future opportunities for visits should contact the Women’s Health Plan team at: womenshealthplan@gov.scot

NES update on menopause and menstrual health education and training

NHS Education Scotland have been commissioned by Scottish Government to create a bespoke training package and framework focussed on menopause and menstrual health for GPs and others working in Primary Care, NES provided an update on this work. Members reflected on the positive response to supporting women through better training for practitioners. The BMS resources were highlighted as excellent resources to be included in the training package and the Scottish Menopause Specialist Network will be given the opportunity to provide feedback and share expertise in due course on the training package.

Women's Health Champion role

Professor Anna Glasier was invited to introduce herself and speak about her role as Women’s Health Champion.

Prof Glasier took her post up in January 2023, and is working 4 days a month. There are three key parts of her role including

  • help raise the profile of women’s health with health care providers and the public including the media;
  • to keep the enthusiasm going on the Women’s Health Plan and
  • to help progress the 66 actions in the Women’s Health Plan

Her initial priorities include specialist menopause services, menstrual health including PCOS and endometriosis, and heart health - albeit these are not exclusive to other areas. As Women’s Health Champion she has met with many people across the sector to discover how things are currently being done, what the potential barriers are to high quality services, hearing about examples of good practice, and connecting people who work in similar areas. A blog will be published quarterly to highlight her work and priorities for the months ahead. The first blog was published in April 2023 and the next one is due to be published in July 2023. The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland presented an opportunity for the Women’s Health Champion to increase her visibility through their platforms either through a blog or an interview. Links were also made with community link workers and the potential for the Champion to engage with them. A meeting was suggested with the GP Committee of the British Medical Association (BMA) to support discussions about the role of general practice in tackling health inequalities.

Meeting action one

Arrangements to be made for the Women’s Health Champion to join a BMA GP Committee meeting to discuss the role of general practice tackling health inequalities. Chair invited all members to reach out and engage with the Champion by contacting womenshealthchampion@gov.scot 

Women's Health leads network

There is a medium term action in the Plan to establish a Women’s Health Lead in every board. The majority of NHS boards have identified their lead and we are working with those who are yet to do so to ensure representation on the network. Those Leads already in place meet quarterly through our Women’s Health Leads Network, Chaired by Prof Anna Glasier. The network last met in April with the next meeting to be on 29 June 2023.

Health leads board level challenges

The Women’s Health lead for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Western Isle presented on the current challenges to the provision of long acting reversible contraception (LARC). A copy of the presentation will be shared with the meeting papers.

Addressing the challenges: discussion and input from the implementation board

The board was invited to discuss the challenges around LARC provision. A summary of the key discussion points:

  • the first meeting of the LARC Short Life Working Group, chaired by Prof Anna Glasier, is taking place on 18 May 2023 and the group plans to discuss issues with training and will explore all options and also map out the differences in the provision of LARC across Scotland
  • a meeting to be set up with British Medical Association on the role of general practice in the provision of LARC
  • the new GP contract for local enhanced services may not be the correct model for improvements to the provision of LARC by primary care since many GPs are salaried. The problem is boarder than just funding it is also related to resourcing and time/capacity for general practice
  • a fundamental question is whose job it is to provide LARC, it sits in several places and across primary/secondary care; and we also need to explore how the responsibility to deliver LARC is perceived in primary care and secondary care
  • there is an opportunity to work together, however it was noted that availability of workforce is one of the main issues
  • there is a need to ensure we make LARC more available for women and ensure the service is women-centred
  • there is a strong desire for there to be equitable access to contraception across all services
  • it is part of every midwives job role to raise awareness about contraception options to pregnant women, and there is a good opportunity here to get midwives involved informing women about their options. It was noted that there is a need to consider the capacity of staff, and availability of staff in hospital settings to do this, and the possible impact they might have on midwifery services
  • opportunity to explore the role of wider practitioners in delivery LARC to women such as advance nursing practice, etc
  • question raised on how do we get services to women and make them as accessible as possible for example women with caring responsibilities or having to travel far. More thought needed on how we take services to women

Meeting action two 

The Women’s Health Champion to arrange a meeting with the BMA on LARC provision.

Meeting action three 

The Women’s Health Champion to arrange a meeting with NES to discuss further training resources for LARC provision

Advancing Menopause and Menstruation In Organisations study: findings and discussion

The Chair invited Kat Riach from the University of Glasgow to present on the early finding of the AMMInO (Advancing Menopause and Menstruation In Organisations) Study. A copy of the presentation will be circulated with the meeting papers. 

Meeting action four

Members invited to email Kat Riach with any examples of best practice across NHS Scotland related to menstrual health and menopause support in the workplace.

Any other business

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 15 November 2023 at 14:00 – 16:00.

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