THE UK government has urged women from Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds living in the Midlands, East of England and women over-50 to respond to the government’s call for evidence to to form the first ever women’s health strategy.
Over 50,000 women, organisations, clinicians and carers have already responded to the call for evidence, a statement said.
But, early analysis shows women from the Midlands and East of England, those from Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds, and over-50s are underrepresented in sharing their experiences.
Hence the deadline for the call for evidence has been extended by two weeks, to 13 June.
Women with health conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, osteoarthritis, are also being urged to share how their condition has affected them.
“For generations, women have been living in a health and care system primarily designed by men, for men. The number of responses to date has been incredible and I thank everyone who has shared their experiences – these interim findings clearly highlight the need for decisive action,” said minister for women’s health Nadine Dorries.
“I urge every woman, if they have not yet, to come forward and respond to the call for evidence. It is only by hearing the experiences and priorities of women from all walks of life, that we can truly develop a strategy that works for all women.”
The strategy, which is designed to increase the health and wellbeing outcomes of women in England., will look at the different ways in which women experience health issues that affect both women and men.
“If we are to prevent women suffering and finally close the gender health gap then it is vital that women from all backgrounds and walks of life share their experiences and engage with the consultation,” said Mika Simmons, co-chair of the Ginsburg Women’s Health Board, Filmmaker and host of The Happy Vagina.
“Every woman is likely to have experienced misunderstanding or loss as a result of misdiagnosis or dismissal of their concerns, as I have, and we owe it to future generations to do all we can to ensure it never happens again.
“This consultation presents an opportunity to have our voices heard, and I encourage everyone, from any gender, who has been impacted by a female health condition, to take the time to share their experiences.”
Nimco Ali OBE, CEO of The Five Foundation and co-chair of the Ginsburg Women’s Health Board, said: “The department of health is committed to shaking up the system and delivering policy that protects and supports women and girls across the country, but they cannot do this effectively without true data. It’s amazing to see so many contributing thus far, and we now need women from all regions, ethnicities and age groups to do the same. ”
Dr Geeta Nargund, Senior NHS consultant and fertility pioneer, said: “If we are to achieve equality in healthcare then respondents must be representative of the wider population. For example, there are specific conditions that are more prevalent in women from BAME backgrounds and if their experiences are not captured by the consultation then there is a risk that their experiences will not be reflected in future policy decisions or strategies.
“Ultimately, this consultation will be used to help support our NHS and healthcare system to deliver the best service it possibly can for all women in the UK, and we must do all we can to ensure it’s a success.”