The Department of Health’s Violence and Social Exclusion Programme and Home Office commissioned Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) University of Birmingham and The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) to undertake this feasibility study, which was carried out between September 2010 and February 2011.
Outlined below is the background and rationale to this study:
Since the early 2000s, a series of independent reports have argued that there are not enough competent forensic physicians for sexual offences work (HMCPSI/HMC ‘Thematic Inspection of Rape’, 2002; subsequent HMCPSI/HMIC joint review, ‘Without Consent’, 2005).
The Department of Health (DH) recognised that the development of effective and available services for victims of sexual assault would rely on competent healthcare and clinical governance to drive service effectiveness. This would require a commensurate development of commissioning, quality service design and development of the specialist healthcare workforce, especially amongst forensic doctors and nurses.
Their response to these issues together with the Home Office was a strategic undertaking to examine the “feasibility of transferring budget and commissioning responsibility for forensic sexual offences examination work to the NHS at the earliest opportunity“.
The Coalition Government’s commitment to address the underlying issues is part of the strategy, Call to end Violence against Women and Girls and the subsequent Action Plan, published in March 2011. The Plan also responds to Baroness Stern’s independent review of how public authorities, including the NHS and police forces, deal with rape cases.