Bristol Women’s Commission helps shape first ever Women’s Health Strategy to tackle inequality

After moving women’s health up the agenda locally, Bristol Women’s Commission has now helped shape a new national Women’s Health Strategy – the first of its kind.

The Commission’s Women’s Health Task Group brings together health professionals and experts including NHS, UWE Bristol and other health charities and partners, to address health inequality. It highlighted issues such as the need for better training and more menopause support in its submission of evidence to the Government ahead of the publication of the report today.

Most of the Commission’s recommendations were taken on board with the Government pledging to:

  • Commission major new research on women’s health issues
  • Improve training for newly graduated doctors on women’s health issues
  • Invest £10 million pounds more into breast screening
  • Collect more data/research on women’s health issues
  • Encouraging the expansion of women’s healthcare hubs
  • Establishing a UK Menopause Taskforce

“We were thrilled to see our input taken on board to help shape this vital national strategy to tackle the huge and growing health inequality we’re seeing in Bristol and beyond,” said Bristol Women’s Commission Chair Penny Gane. 

“Women’s health is a neglected area. Women are often not listened to by healthcare professionals and there is a distinct lack of investment in conditions that impact only women. We very much welcome this much-needed strategy and hope to see changes on the ground in the coming months and years.”

In announcing the launch of the new strategy, the Government said: “Women live on average for longer than men but spend more of their life in poor health, often limiting their ability to work and participate in day to day activities. Closing the gender health gap and supporting women to live well will not only benefit the health and wellbeing of women, but the health of the economy.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Our health and care system only works if it works for everyone. It’s not right that 51% of the population are disadvantaged in accessing the care they need, simply because of their sex. The publication of this strategy is a landmark moment in addressing entrenched inequalities and improving the health and wellbeing of women across the country.”

Previously, Bristol Women’s Commission Women’s Health Task Force got a chapter on Women’s Health included in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA), the first and only chapter of its kind in the UK. The group is currently finalising its own Women’s Health report – for release later this year – which outlines health inequality locally and what might be done to address this. It follows the publication of the Commission’s Delivering An Inclusive Economy Post Covid-19 report, which has helped inform the city’s pandemic recovery plans.

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