It has been just over a year since the Women’s Health Strategy for England was published. Unfortunately amongst all of the issues facing the government and the NHS, women’s health still seems to be taking a back seat. In fact, with the recent update from the government and their stance on menopause rights, you could even say things are going in the wrong direction.
However, at Kensa Health we keep fighting to have women’s voices heard, listened to, and acted on. Which is why we are launching the Women’s Health Voices campaign across our social media.
We will be giving a platform to the stories that women shared within the nationwide women’s health survey. We will share the stories we have been told about the impact and outcomes caused by the gender health gap. We will give you a place to share your story, to help highlight change that is needed and to help other women realise they are not alone.
And we will continue to do all that we can to ask the government to step up and make the changes that they agreed with in their own Women’s Health Strategy for England. As they said in the reports introduction:
Although women in the UK on average live longer than men, women spend a significantly greater proportion of their lives in ill health and disability when compared with men. Not enough focus is placed on women-specific issues like miscarriage or menopause, and women are under-represented when it comes to important clinical trials. This has meant that not enough is known about conditions that only affect women, or about how conditions that affect both men and women impact them in different ways.
We also know that there are disparities in women’s health across the country. Smoking in pregnancy is one example of this. While progress has been made in reducing rates of smoking in pregnancy to 9.6% of deliveries, the headline figure masks significant geographical differences, with prevalence ranging from 1.8% in Kensington to 21.4% in Blackpool.
There are also far too many cases where women’s voices have not been listened to – indeed the responses to our call for evidence found 84% of respondents felt that this was the case. One of the most tragic moments in both of our roles was hearing the heart-breaking stories in the Ockenden review, which highlighted shocking failings in maternity care. Here, as in so many cases, women were not listened to; one mother said she felt like a “lone voice in the wind”.
- The Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
– Maria Caulfield MP, Minister of State for Health
We need to ensure that no woman feels like the lone voice in the wind. We need to stop 84% of women from feeling ignored and dismissed. We need to ensure women are supported at home and in work. We need to make improvements in women's health data, treatments, research, support and investment. We need to raise our voices, share our stories and find ways to make change happen.
If you would like us to share your health story (we are happy to anonymise) please send them to email@example.com