Improving Women’s Health
The Government recently launched a 12-week call for evidence to better understand women’s experiences of the health and care system. I would encourage women reading this who haven’t taken part yet to do so by clicking here.
The responses will help to shape a new Women’s Health Strategy to improve health and wellbeing and ensure that health services are meeting their needs. This is important because while we are hugely fortunate to have the NHS, we should always be looking to do better. There is still evidence of gender bias in clinical trials and we must ensure that issues relating specifically to women such as gynaecological conditions, menopause and pregnancy are given the time and attention they deserve.
As the majority of childcare still falls on working mothers, looking at women’s health and wellbeing in the workplace is another area we need to continue to look at. There may be instances where employment law isn’t looking after women experiencing health problems sufficiently well. We also need to understand why women, on average, spend less of their life in good health compared with men, despite female life expectancy being higher.
99% Vaccine Uptake
In the past few weeks there has been a consistent fall in Covid-19 infection rates in Teignbridge. At the time of writing this article there have been just 27 cases in the past seven days, giving an infection rate of 20 per 100,000 people or roughly 1 case per town the size of Ashburton or Chudleigh. This mirrors the situation across Devon with the exception of East Devon which has just seen cases rise due to a care home outbreak.
This progress has been achieved due to the responsibility shown by local residents in adhering to restrictions and because of the outstanding take up of vaccinations. Recent figures show that 99% of people aged over 70 in the South West have accepted a jab – the highest level of take up of any region in the country (other England regions vary between 85% and 97%). I am pleased and relieved that anti-vaccination conspiracy theories have been firmly rejected and that our older residents have listened to the experts and had jabs which will help protect themselves, others and will relieve pressure on our NHS.
Despite this progress, both nationally and locally, we must not kid ourselves that the pandemic is over. We saw in December how fast infection rates can rise when restrictions are lifted and the Government is right to approach this in stages, buying time as 300,000 vaccinations continue to be administered every day. At the time of writing this article more than 24 million doses have been administered in the UK – more than Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain combined. We should be very proud of this success.