This week, the UK government launched a 12-week call for evidence to better understand women’s experiences of the health and care system.
Announced on Monday 8 March 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 England and place women’s voices at the centre of their care.
By better understanding women’s experiences, the government can ensure key parts of the health service are directly meeting the needs of women.
As such, all women are invited to contribute their experiences of health and care, as well as 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.
“Women’s experiences of health care can vary and we want to ensure women are able to access the treatment and services they need,” said Nadine Dorries, Minister for Women’s Health.
“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.”
The call for evidence identifies six key themes as priority areas. They are as follows:
- 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.
The call for evidence is open to everyone aged 16 or over and will run for a period of 12 weeks. The consultation closes at 11.45pm on 30 May 2021. You can contribute your experiences here.
Image: Getty/Angelina Bambina