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Let's Talk About Women's Health Posted on 15 Mar 2021

Happy #InternationalWomensDay!

Lots of people know that women have a longer life expectancy than men in the UK (83 years and 79 years respectively), but did you know that UK women spend a greater proportion of their lives in ill health or disability? It's around one quarter of their lives for women, compared to around one fifth for men, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The Government is running a public consultation on women's health. You can have your say about what needs improving for women's healthcare by responding to the survey here: https://consultations.dhsc.gov.uk/talkwomenshealth 

Here's the foreword from Health Minister Matt Hancock, explaining more about why the consultation is needed:

"For generations, women have lived with a health and care system that is mostly designed by men, for men.

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 women in different ways. Pregnant women and women of childbearing age are also under-represented in clinical trials, which can create troubling gaps in data and understanding.

This problem affects half of our population. It can lead to poorer advice and diagnosis and, as a result, worse outcomes. Symptoms can often differ between men and women, and studies show some conditions, like coronary blockages, are more likely to be misdiagnosed among women than men.

This ‘male by default’ problem of the past must be put right. Despite living longer than men, women spend a greater proportion of their lives in ill health and disability, and there are growing geographic inequalities in women’s life expectancy. This makes levelling up women’s health an imperative for us all and will support progress towards the government’s commitment to extend healthy life expectancy by 5 years by 2035.

There’s a lot of great work already underway. This government is working on the next Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, and has announced plans for a new Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which we plan to publish later this year.

Although this focused work is important, it is also important we take an end-to-end look at women’s health, from adolescence to older age. So, we’re bringing forward England’s first Women’s Health Strategy, to make women’s voices heard and put them at the centre of their own care.

We know that not all women have the same experiences, so we want to hear from as many women as possible from all ages and backgrounds about what you think works well and what we need to change.

I’d urge you to come forward and have your say, so we can make sure our nation’s health system truly works for the whole nation.

The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP"

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