Women are being encouraged to share their experiences of the health and care system via a call for evidence aimed at improving healthcare for women across England.
Announced by the UK Government to coincide with International Women’s Day, the evidence call will form the basis of a landmark, government-led Women’s Health Strategy to improve the health and wellbeing of women across the country and place women’s voices at the centre of their care.
Developing a better understanding of women’s experiences will ensure the government’s recommendations directly meet the needs of women.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The healthcare system needs to work for everyone, and we must address inequalities which exist within it.
“Improving women’s health, especially at older ages, is critical for a fair health and care system in the future.
“Our new Women’s Health Strategy will be a much-needed step forward to improve the health and wellbeing of women across the country.
“To build this strategy, we need to hear from those who it directly impacts. I urge all women, and those who have experiences or expertise in women’s health, to come forward and share their views with us to inform the future of this important strategy.”
Efforts have been made to ensure the call for evidence is easily accessible, with it designed to be user-friendly, quick to fill in and mobile-optimised.
Those who live with and care for women, organisations with experience of providing services for women and those with an expertise in women’s health are also being encouraged to share their views.
Nadine Dorries, Minister for Women’s Health, added: “Women’s experiences of health care can vary and we want to ensure women are able to access the treatment and services they need.
“It is crucial women’s voices are at the front and centre of this strategy so we understand their experiences and how to improve their outcomes.
“I urge every woman, and anyone who cares for women, to feed into this call for evidence and help shape the future of women’s health.”
There are six key themes which have been identified as priority areas by the Government in their call for evidence. These are:
- Placing women’s voices at the centre of their health and care – how the health and care system engages with and listens to women at the individual level as well as at the system level.
- Improving the quality and accessibility of information and education on women’s health – women having access to high-quality information when they need to make a decision, increasing health literacy, as well as increasing awareness and understanding of women’s health conditions among clinicians.
- Ensuring the health and care system understands and is responsive to women’s health and care needs across the life course – supporting women to maximise their health across their lives, and ensuring services are designed to maximise benefits for women.
- Maximising women’s health in the workplace – deepening our understanding of how women’s health issues can affect their workforce participation and outcomes, both with regards to female-specific issues such as the menopause, but also conditions that are more prevalent in women such as musculoskeletal conditions, depression or anxiety
- Ensuring that research, evidence and data support improvements in women’s health – inclusion of women and women’s health in research and data collection and how that information is used, and driving participation in clinical trials to support improvements in women’s health.
- Understanding and responding to the impacts of Covid-19 on women’s health – supporting women through the unique challenges they’ve faced during the pandemic.