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Women’s health is top priority in ambitious plan

By Clare Gooch

Published In: Clinical Negligence

The Government has set out its top priorities for the Women’s Health Strategy for 2024 which include gynaecological problems, maternity care and birth trauma support.

mixed group of women, different races and ages

For 2024, the focus on women’s health is stronger than ever with the Health Secretary announcing it as a top priority. The Strategy was first launched in July 2022 and set out the Government’s 10-year plan to improving women and girls’ health and wellbeing.

Research into the gender health gap evidenced a need for greater focus in women-specific health conditions including fertility, baby loss, and other gynaecological health issues.

Health Secretary, Victoria Atkins, recently addressed women’s health champions at a major event in London, outlining plans for the upcoming year and celebrating the successes of the Women’s Health Strategy's first year. This strategy has already seen significant accomplishments, including reducing the cost of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the introduction of women’s health hubs across many areas.

Top priorities for 2024

The Government’s priorities for women’s health in 2024 are ambitious and far-reaching. They are centred around addressing key areas that have long been overlooked. This includes:

  • Menstrual Health and Menopause Support: Tackling menstrual problems and providing support for women experiencing menopause are top priorities. The Government aims to improve information, support, and access to care for women dealing with these issues.
  • Maternity Care and Birth Trauma Support: Enhancing maternity care and providing support for mothers who suffer from birth trauma are essential aspects of women’s health. The Government is dedicated to ensuring that women receive the care and support they need before, during, and after pregnancy. The Government will continue to deliver on NHS England’s 3-year delivery plan for maternity and neonatal services.
  • Support for Domestic and Sexual Abuse Victims: Improving support systems for victims of domestic and sexual abuse is a critical focus, particularly within the criminal justice system. Collaborative efforts are underway to provide training and resources to better assist vulnerable women. These recommendations were set out in the National Women’s Prison Health and Social Care Review.
  • Expanding Women’s Health Hubs: The rollout of women’s health hubs aims to improve access to care, enhance health outcomes and reduce health inequalities. These hubs offer services for various women’s health issues, including menstrual problems, contraception, pelvic pain, and menopause care.

A collaborative effort

These priorities were developed based on feedback from healthcare professionals, women’s health champions and other stakeholders.

The Sands Listening Project , an initiative from Sands charity, highlights the experiences of black and Asian bereaved parents who lost their babies during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Findings from the project have revealed a number of systemic issues and discrimination within healthcare, which has led to poorer outcomes for minority families. The project, alongside a national Inquiry, provides evidence for necessary improvements. Recommendations are being shared with policymakers and healthcare professionals to drive positive change and support safer pregnancy experiences for all.

Through the first ever National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) ‘challenge’ researchers, policymakers and women will be tasked with finding new ways to tackle maternity disparities to provide better support nationally.

Looking ahead

As we move forward, it’s essential to recognise the progress made and the work that lies ahead. By continuing to prioritise women’s health and investing in research, support systems and accessible healthcare services, we can create a future where every woman receives the care and support that she deserves.

Suzanne Munroe , Director and Head of the Medical Negligence team at Switalskis said: “We welcome the Health Secretary’s commitments to improving women’s health, in particular tackling maternity care and birth trauma support. There are still efforts to be made to improve fairness and tackle inequalities and disparities across maternity services.”

At Switalskis, we stand with women in advocating for their health and well-being. Together, we will continue working towards a healthier, more inclusive future for all.

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Clare has worked in Medical Negligence for over 10 years.  She’s a Senior Associate Solicitor in our Medical Negligence team based in Switalskis’ London office.

Senior Associate Solicitor

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