A £25 million investment, over the next 2 years, to create new women’s health hub will mean “women across England will benefit from tailored healthcare.” This announcement comes as the government acknowledges International Women’s Day.
The hubs will be tailored to meet local women’s needs and provide services for menstrual problems, contraception, pelvic pain, menopause care and more. The hubs will also work to bring many services by combining multiple appointments such as management of contraception and heavy bleeding while also ensuring all necessary equipment so women don’t have to go to secondary locations. The hubs will also reduce pressure on secondary care and waiting lists in the NHS.
“Women make up 51% of the population and should not be an afterthought in healthcare”, said Maria Caulfield, Minister for Women’s Health. “Better access to specialist services is key to tackling health inequalities - the £25 million funding will create new women’s health hubs providing specialist care and advice to women across the country”
Early versions of these hubs have already existed in cities such as Liverpool and Manchester which the government reports have been “well received by women in their area”. Also hubs such as City and Hackney women’s health hub have used a digital model to provide virtual menopause engagement events and group consultations.
“For too long, too many women have felt that their pain has been ignored, misunderstood or downplayed when they approach health professionals for help”, said Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive. “The NHS is continuing to find ways to ensure women’s health is prioritised, that more focus is placed on their needs, and that access to the care they need is as convenient as possible.”
These hubs are “a key commitment” within the government’s first ever Women’s Health Strategy for England, published in July 2022. The other 7 commitments include:
1. Improving information provision on women’s health, including improvements to the NHS website and supporting teachers to deliver women’s health elements of the relationships and sex curriculum
2. Supporting women’s health in the workplace, including through the Health and Wellbeing Fund 2022 to 2025.
3. Pregnancy loss, including reporting findings of the independent Pregnancy Loss Review and developing the pregnancy loss certificate.
4. Fertility, including improving access to NHS fertility treatment for female same-sex couples and assessing the use of non-clinical access criteria locally.
5. Improving access to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by introducing the HRT prescription prepayment certificate in April 2023 and boosting HRT supply.
6. Healthy ageing and long-term conditions - with work feeding into the government’s forthcoming major conditions strategy.
7. Boosting research and evidence into women’s health