The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, which represents doctors working in sexual and reproductive health, has voted to widen its membership to include nurses.
At an extraordinary general meeting on 21 November, the faculty unanimously agreed that from January nurses will be able to become full members of the FSRH on completion of a new diploma.
Nurses will have the opportunity to apply for the newly developed FSRH qualification – a nurse diploma and letters of competence – in order to become members from 6 January 2014. It will mean nurse representation on the faculty’s council with voting rights.
Qualified nurses must complete the diploma to become a full FSRH member, as is the current situation for doctors wishing to join the organisation.
In a statement announcing the move, the faculty said the decision to extend its membership reflected “the key role that nurses play in the delivery of sexual health care”, and its desire to promote multi-disciplinary working.
It added that there was currently no equivalent qualification to the FSRH diploma nationally recognised for nurses.
Shelly Mehigan, a nurse specialist in contraception, who helped develop the diploma, said: “There has been concern for a long time about a lack of nationally recognised training for nurses and this is a welcome step forward for patient care.
“Contraception and sexual health has always been a multi-disciplinary field, which is underpinned by these new national qualifications.”
Professor Viv Bennett, the director of nursing at the Department of Health and Public Health England, said it was “fantastic” that the faculty was “valuing the key roles of nurses”.
“Effective accessible sexual health services need highly skilled teams,” she said.
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare – formerly called the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare – is part of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and was established in March 1993. It has over 14,000 medical members, most of whom are GPs.
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