Women urged to share their views on healthcare experiences
Women from under-represented groups are being urged to respond to the Government’s call for evidence to shape the future of women’s healthcare.
Women from Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, those living in the Midlands and East of England and women between 16 and 18 years old and those over-50 are being urged to respond to the government’s call for evidence.
There has already been an incredible response to the call for evidence, with over 100,000 women, organisations, clinicians and carers sharing their experiences of the health and care system, to help inform the first ever government-led Women’s Health Strategy.
The Health and Social Care Secretary, and the Minister for Women’s Health are urging women to respond before the call for evidence closes on Sunday 13 June to enable as many women as possible to have their say and capture a variety of views on access to services, experiences and health outcomes.
Minister for Women’s Health Nadine Dorries said: "We’ve already had a phenomenal response to our call for evidence and I want to thank everyone who has shared their invaluable and insightful experiences. We are opening up conversations and breaking down taboos to make sure the healthcare system is meeting women’s needs. However these early findings highlight the low response rate from some groups of women.
"There’s only a few days left; I urge every woman to respond to the call for evidence if they haven’t done so already, and I encourage them to tell their friends and family. It’s crucial this strategy works for all women and recognises their variety of experiences. Let’s finally make our voices heard. Let’s talk about women’s health."
As well as health issues specific to women, the strategy will look at the different ways in which women experience health issues that affect both women and men. Women with health conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, osteoarthritis, are also being urged to share how their condition has affected them.
Women are being encouraged to share their experiences as well as their priorities for a Women’s Health Strategy, designed to increase the health and wellbeing outcomes of women in England.
There is strong evidence of the need for greater focus on women’s health:
- Although female life expectancy is higher than men in the UK, women on average spend less of their life in good health compared with men. Female life expectancy in this country has been improving more slowly than male life expectancy since the 1980s.
- Less is known about conditions that only affect women, including common gynaecological conditions which can have severe impacts on health and wellbeing, but for which there is currently little treatment. A key example of this is endometriosis with the average time for a woman to receive a diagnosis being 7 to 8 years, and with 40% of women needing 10 or more GP appointments before being referred to a specialist.
- There is also evidence that the impact of female-specific health conditions such as heavy menstrual bleeding, endometriosis, pregnancy-related issues and the menopause on women’s lives is overlooked. This includes the effect they can have on women’s workforce participation, productivity, and outcomes.
High-quality research and evidence is essential to delivering improvements in women’s health, yet studies suggest gender biases in clinical trials and research are contributing to worse health outcomes for women. Although women make up 51% of the population, there is less evidence and data on how conditions affect women differently. A University of Leeds study showed women with a total blockage of a coronary artery were 59% more likely to be misdiagnosed than men and found that UK women had more than double the rate of death in the 30 days following heart attack compared with men.