Marie Todd launches Women's Health Plan
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Bold plans to improve health and reduce inequalities for women in Scotland have been published today (Friday) by the Scottish Government.
Scotland is the first country in the UK to have a Women’s Health Plan, which outlines ambitious improvement and change in areas including menopause, heart health, menstrual health including endometriosis, and sexual health.
“Our vision for women’s health is an ambitious one – and rightly so, said Women’s Health Minister Maree Todd, local MSP. "It is clear that wider change must happen to ensure all our health and social care services meet the needs of all women, everywhere.
“Women’s health is not just a women's issue. When women and girls are supported to lead healthy lives and fulfil their potential, the whole of society benefits.
“Together, we are working to address inequalities in all aspects of health that women are facing. The Women’s Health Plan signals our ambition and determination to see change for women in Scotland, for their health and for their role in society. We want Scotland to be a world leader when it comes to women’s health.”
The Women’s Health Plan sets out 66 actions to ensure all women enjoy the best possible healthcare throughout their lives. It takes on board the real life experiences of women who have given their feedback on what is important to them.
Key actions include:
- Appointing a national Women’s Health Champion and a Women’s Health Lead in every NHS board;
- Establishing a Women’s Health Research Fund to close gaps in scientific and medical knowledge;
- Providing a central platform for women’s health information on NHS Inform;
- Setting up a Women’s Health Community Pharmacy service;
- Commissioning endometriosis research to develop better treatment and management, and a cure;
- Developing a menopause and menstrual health workplace policy, and promoting it across the public, private and Third Sector;
- Improving information and public awareness of heart disease symptoms and risks for women.
Head of British Heart Foundation Scotland James Jopling said: “Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in women in Scotland and kills nearly three times as many as women as breast cancer. At every stage – from the moment they experience symptoms through to their cardiac rehabilitation – women with heart disease can face disadvantages. We need to improve understanding of the risks for women and increase their awareness of the symptoms of a heart attack.
“We must also promote equality of treatment for women with heart disease within the healthcare system, at every point in their journey. The publication of the Women’s Health Plan, with heart health as a priority, is a welcome step to tackle these inequalities and we look forward to working together to help save and improve lives.”
Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Dr Pat O’Brien said: “We welcome Scotland’s commitment to this ambitious and detailed plan as a key marker to making improvements to healthcare services for all women from different backgrounds.
“We are pleased to see the Women’s Health Plan adopts an approach to prioritise the health and wellbeing of women throughout every stage of their lives, and ensure they can access care when they need it – something we called for in our Better for Women report.
“It is important that all women are included and consulted about how health services can fit their needs. This Plan has been developed with extensive consultation with a diverse group of women, ensuring that the health service is inclusive and respectful, and can work to focus on closing inequalities in women’s health experience and outcomes.”
The Women’s Health Plan is part of wider work being undertaken across Scottish Government to improve women’s health, particularly in regards to mesh, maternal health, and screening services.
Women and girls’ mental health are a priority within the Mental Health Transition and Recovery Plan. The government is tackling violence against women and girls through the implementation of our Equally Safe Strategy. The Gender Pay Gap Action Plan is driving forward changes needed to reduce the gender pay gap for employees in Scotland.