United Kingdom – To mark the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, ministers across government are touring the country to urge women to make their voices heard and help shape the first ever government-led Women’s Health Strategy.
The Women’s Health Strategy is designed to increase the health and well-being outcomes of women in England, and ministers and the government are determined that women get to shape the policies that will drive up equality in our health system.
To ensure the strategy works for women, the government issued a call for evidence, which closes on 13 June. There has already been a staggering response with over 80,000 women, organisations, clinicians and carers responding so far.
With just over 2 weeks until the call for evidence closes, the government is calling on women of all ages and backgrounds to share their experiences, insights and priorities.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:”
The public have a right to expect a health and care system that truly works for everyone in society, regardless of background or gender.
There is unmistakable evidence, in the data and in people’s health outcomes, that there is a gender gap in our health system and it is this gap that we want to eradicate with the first ever government-led Women’s Health Strategy.
This strategy has to be one that reflects the views and experiences of women across the country, from Hartlepool to Cornwall, and the response so far has been overwhelming. Whether you work in the health and care profession or are somebody who uses it, we want to hear from you.”
To further raise awareness, this week ministers across government are visiting women’s health-related charities, projects and healthcare settings across the country to make sure women are making their voices heard, including:
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, site of Women and Children’s Hospital
Minister for Women’s Health Nadine Dorries at St Thomas’ maternity unit with Jacqueline Dunkley Bent
Minister of State for Health Ed Argar will visit the Royal Marsden Hospital
Minister for Innovation Lord Bethell will visit UKHSA Collindale lab
Minister for Care Helen Whately will visit Kent Medical school
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing and Rough Sleeping Eddie Hughes will visit the Green Lane Hostel in Walsall, which provides support to vulnerable young people aged 16 to 25
Minister of State for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage will undertake an endometriosis-focused visit on the south coast
Prisons and Probations Minister Alex Chalk will visit a Gloucester rape and sexual abuse centre
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow will visit a local hospital in Taunton
Minister of State for Universities Michelle Donelan will host a roundtable with women in her constituency to discuss women’s health
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Baroness Barran will virtually visit Ovarian Cancer Action
Chairman of the Party Amanda Milling will visit a women’s gym in Pudsey
Minister for Women’s Health, Nadine Dorries, said:”
For generations, women’s issues have often been marginalised, and seldom given the attention they deserve. At the same time, we have consistently been underrepresented in research and clinical trials.
It is high time we change that. We need to make sure ours is a healthcare system that is really meeting women’s needs. I urge all women, from all walks of life, to tell us their experiences and thoughts in our call for evidence so we can put your voices at the heart of our Women’s Health Strategy and make sure our future policy works for you.
It really is the final countdown – there are only 16 days left for you to make sure your voice is heard.”
Other ministers, including the Prime Minister, Secretary of State for International Trade and Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland, Children’s Minister Vicky Ford, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Baroness Barran and Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt are expected to support activity on social media.
Charities, Royal Colleges, patient groups and other stakeholders are also lending their support today. Mencap, the Eve Appeal, the Royal College of Midwives, Endometriosis UK and the British Heart Foundation will share content, including videos and case studies, urging their members and supporters to respond to the call for evidence.
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 and osteoarthritis are also being urged to share how their condition has affected them.
The call for evidence has been designed to be user friendly, quick to fill in and easily accessible from people’s mobiles. People 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 encouraged to share their views.