The Scottish government have published a plan to improve women’s health and reduce gendered health inequalities, making Scotland the first country in the UK to have a Women’s Health Plan.
The plan sets out 66 actions to ensure all women enjoy the best healthcare possible with changes in areas such as menopause, heart health, menstrual health including endometriosis, and sexual health.
The new strategy is based on the feedback and real-life experiences of women, who have told the government what is important to them and which areas need improvement.
To achieve the proposed outcomes, the Scottish government says it will:
- Appoint a national Women’s Health Champion and a Women’s Health Lead in every NHS board;
- Establish a Women’s Health Research Fund to close gaps in scientific and medical knowledge;
- Provide a central platform for women’s health information on NHS Inform;
- Set up a Women’s Health Community Pharmacy service;
- Commission endometriosis research to develop better treatment and management, and a cure;
- Develop a menopause and menstrual health workplace policy and promote it across the public, private and Third Sector; and
- Improve information and public awareness of heart disease symptoms and risks for women.
“Women’s health is not just a women's issue”
The Women’s Health Minister, Maree Todd, said she wants to see “Scotland become a world leader when it comes to women’s health.”
“Our vision for women’s health is an ambitious one – and rightly so. 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,” she said.
The British Heart Foundation and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have also praised Scotland’s commitment to improving women’s health.
Dr Pat O’Brien, Vice President of the RCOG said: “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.”