Women's Health Task Group

Working in partnership with representatives from the local NHS, including Chair Monira Chowdhury, this group aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Bristol women of all ages through research, action and influencing policy. It produces reports to inform strategy and succeeded in getting a chapter on Women’s Health in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). More recently, the group has been also identifying issues around Covid-19, including a focus on mental health.

The Women’s Health task group has produced a number of reports which inform strategy from Young Women’s Health to Literature review of Young Women’s Health Issues. It succeeded in getting a chapter on Women’s Health in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and unveiled a Women’s Health Strategy for Bristol 2019 (which is currently being updated).

Women’s health issues are often hidden in plain sight which gave rise to Dame Sally Davies’ CMO report ‘The Health of the 51%: Women’ in 2015, on which much of our work is based. It transpired that in 2017 women’s health in Bristol was significantly worse than the national average. That year Bristol Women’s Commission reviewed the council’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and presented a chapter on Women’s Health, the first in the country. We also hosted a Women’s Health conference for health professionals on International Women’s Day.

The focus has more recently shifted to the way the pandemic is disproportionately affecting women and girls.

Task group Chair Monira Chowdhury said: “Mental health (especially self-harm) has been key priority, along with incontinence and menopause,  domestic violence and abuse is cross cutting with both women’s safety and mental health/health.

“More recently we were asked to look at disproportionate impact of BAME women within maternity services, and more widely the  impact of significantly larger proportion of health and care staff being women – especially during a pandemic.

“Going forward, mental health is likely to be our highest priority along with updating both the JSNA Women’s Chapter and Health Strategy while we continue to support other work especially collaboration through Bristol Health Partners Health Implementation Teams.”