Women and girls across England will benefit from improved healthcare following the publication of the first ever government-led Women’s Health Strategy for England this week. Following a call for evidence, which generated almost 100,000 responses, the strategy sets bold ambitions to tackle deep-rooted, systemic issues within the health and care system to improve the health and wellbeing of women. On average, women live longer than men but spend more of their life in poor health. The strategy includes:
- Teaching and assessments on women’s health in undergraduate curricula for graduating medical students from 2024-25 and for all incoming doctors.
- Removing barriers to IVF for female same-sex couples.
- Encouraging the expansion of Women’s Health Hubs around the country and other models of ‘one-stop clinics’, bringing essential women’s services together.
- New investment in additional breast screening services.
- Recognising parents who have lost a child before 24 weeks through the introduction of a pregnancy loss certificate in England.
- Ensuring specialist endometriosis services have the most up to date evidence.
- Making it easier for women and girls affected by domestic violence or psychological abuse to access support services.
- Commissioning urgent research into healthcare professionals’ experiences of listening to women, with a focus on menstrual and gynaecological symptoms.
- Major investment into research on women’s health issues including a new policy research unit on reproductive health, plans to address data gaps, and identifying barriers to women participating in research.
Welcoming the publication of the strategy, Central Devon MP Mel Stride said:
“This new strategy builds upon action the Government has already taken to improve health services and outcomes for women and girls such as banning virginity testing and hymenoplasty, abolishing the tampon tax, rolling out free sanitary products in schools, colleges and hospitals, investing £300 million in family hubs, establishing the UK Menopause Taskforce, and strengthening protections for domestic abuse victims. Improving neonatal care is also key, and the Government has invested more than £200 million to expand neonatal care capacity over the next year and recruit an extra 1,200 midwives and 100 consultant obstetricians.”