The government has published the first ever Women's Health Strategy for England to tackle the gender health gap.
The 6-point plan
Within the next 10 years, the Women’s Health Strategy for England will have:
- boosted health outcomes for all women and girls
- radically improved the way in which the health and care system engages and listens to all women and girls.
It will achieve this by:
- taking a life course approach
- focusing on women’s health policy and services throughout their lives
- embedding hybrid and wrap-around services as best practice
- boosting the representation of women’s voices and experiences in policy-making, and at all levels of the health and care system.
It will bring together everyone across the healthcare system to act as the catalyst for the long-term change we all want to see.
The strategy builds on 'Our Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy for England', which was published in December 2021, and sets out ambitions for improving the health and wellbeing of women and girls in England based on the life course approach, and resetting how the health and care system listens to women.
This strategy sets out how it will go further with the 6-point long-term plan for transformational change:
- Ensuring women’s voices are heard – tackling taboos and stigmas, ensuring women are listened to by healthcare professionals, and increasing representation of women at all levels of the health and care system.
- Improving access to services – ensuring women can access services that meet their reproductive health needs across their lives, and prioritising services for women’s conditions such as endometriosis. Ensuring conditions that affect both men and women, such as autism or dementia, consider women’s needs by default, and being clear on how conditions affect men and women differently.
- Addressing disparities in outcomes among women – ensuring that a woman’s age, ethnicity, sexuality, disability or where she is from does not impact upon her ability to access services, or the treatment she receives.
- Better information and education – enabling women and wider society to easily equip themselves with accurate information about women’s health, and healthcare professionals to have the initial and ongoing training they need to treat their patients knowledgably and empathetically.
- Greater understanding of how women’s health affects their experience in the workplace – normalising conversations on taboo topics, such as periods and the menopause, to ensure women can remain productive and be supported in the workplace, and highlighting the many examples of good practice by employers.
- Supporting more research, improving the evidence base and spearheading the drive for better data – addressing the lack of research into women’s health conditions, improving the representation of women of all demographics in research, and plugging the data gap and ensuring existing data is broken down by sex.
The strategy goes on to set out its approach to priority areas related to specific conditions or areas of health where the call for evidence highlighted particular issues or opportunities:
- menstrual health and gynaecological conditions
- fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss and postnatal support
- mental health and wellbeing
- the health impacts of violence against women and girls
- healthy ageing and long-term conditions.