Each area in England will get at least one new hub specialising in women’s health, with each ICB receiving £595,000 to set them up.
A £25m investment in the hubs was announced in March, with the funding being provided over the next two years to speed up the project’s development.
The Government said the hubs will provide better access to care for menstrual problems, contraception, pelvic pain and menopause and could also offer cervical screening.
It said that they 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.
But at the time, primary care experts warned that this was a further ‘fragmentation’ of services, rather than investing in core general practice.
Now the Government has confirmed that the funding will be distributed equally to ICBs, with £595,000 in total for each.
This will be transferred over the current and next financial year, with 75% available in 2023/24 for immediate use.
A letter sent to ICBs’ chief executives encouraged systems to ‘make full use of your funding allocation to accelerate progress’, noting that ICBs will not be expected to incur costs implementing a model that is not recurrently affordable.
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 added: ‘There is no “one size fits all” approach to women’s health hubs. It is important that services are provided in a way that best meets population needs and reduces health inequalities.
‘DHSC and NHSE will work together to develop further resources to support the wider expansion of hubs. In the autumn, we will publish a commissioning specification for hubs.’
The hubs, first announced as part of the Women’s Health Strategy for England could also reduce pressure on secondary care waiting lists, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
Earlier this year, the Government rejected a recommendation to introduce mandatory menopause training for GPs, saying ‘it is not necessary.’
That followed a recommendation from the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee recommended that the menopause is be given ‘more priority’ in initial training for GPs and a ‘mandatory aspect’ of continuing GP professional development.