Gender health gap: the government will appoint a women’s health ambassador following probe into health inequality

Gender health gap: the government will appoint a women’s health ambassador following inquiry into health inequality

Women have been talking about the health inequality they face for years. Now, it appears the government has started listening.

The government will appoint a dedicated women’s health ambassador to help reduce health inequality in England after a consultation found a shocking gender gap in healthcare services.

Over 100,000 responses to the government’s inquiry revealed that many women felt they were not listened to by health professionals, and were not supported well when dealing with health conditions.

Nearly two in three respondents with a health condition or disability said they did not feel supported, and felt that services for conditions which only affect women are of lower priority than general health.

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Not only is less said to be known about many specific conditions and how to treat them, many patients shared that they felt overlooked when talking to doctors about conditions like endometriosis or complications following a pelvic mesh repair.

The analysis also found that taboos and stigma in women’s health can prevent women seeking help and reinforce beliefs that debilitating symptoms are “normal”.

Addressing the findings, minister for women’s health, Maria Caulfield, told the BBC: “The responses from the call for evidence were in many ways as expected, particularly with regards to women’s priorities, but in some places the revelations were shocking.

“It is not right that over three-quarters of women feel the healthcare service has not listened. This must be addressed.

“Many of the issues raised require long-term system-wide changes, but we must start somewhere.”

More details on what actions are being taken are expected in spring 2022 when the government’s Women’s Health Strategy is due to be published.

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