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“Shouting into a void”? … Women’s Health Strategy?



Placing women’s voices at the centre of their healthcare is the basis of the government’s recent call for evidence.[1] This call for evidence is seeking to collect views on women’s health. However, as a recent publication highlights, women not speaking up is not the real problem but rather the problem lies with “the healthcare system not being willing or able to listen”.[2]


As the authors rightly point out, in the Cumberlege Review Baroness Cumberlege mentioned that the women who contributed to her report “First do not Harm” were outstanding communicators and expert in the subject matter”[3]. The publication goes further to point out a tendency by medics to dismiss patient feedback as anecdotal evidence (no surprise for us advocates there). Meanwhile, research studies are duplicated and gaps in evidence are ignored. They argue that the NHS needs to take patient experience more seriously by building it into practise. The article points to patient experience absence in the NHS, PALs teams with no professional qualifications, uncoordinated patient experience research and a lack of analytical tools for patient experience[2].


As patient advocates here at PCOS Vitality we tend to agree. Many of us advocates have questioned why earlier reports have yet to be acted upon. There seems to be a series of reports/inquiries but little changes and the excuse of stigma related to women’s health taboos preventing us from speaking up is really starting to wear a little thin. Thanks to the authors of the BMJ publication for raising these valid points.


If you would like to contribute you can follow the link below

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/womens-health-strategy-call-for-evidence/womens-health-strategy-call-for-evidence

Deadline for the consultation has now been extended to 11:45pm on 13 June 2021.

© PCOS Vitality 2021

References

[1] Women’s Health Strategy: Call for Evidence - GOV.UK, (n.d.). https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/womens-health-strategy-call-for-evidence/womens-health-strategy-call-for-evidence (accessed May 15, 2021).

[2] Placing women’s voices at the centre of their care - The BMJ, (n.d.). https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/05/13/placing-womens-voices-at-the-centre-of-their-care/ (accessed May 14, 2021).

[3] First Do No Harm The report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, 2020. www.gov.uk/official-documents. (accessed May 15, 2021).

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