Women’s health – #betterforwomen
For too long, women’s health hasn’t received the respect or attention it deserves from medical science. These systemic failures have created an inequality which threatens the health of women nationwide.
Women are more likely to struggle with receiving a correct diagnosis, and when treatment is received it can be less effective than it would be for a man. That’s why our team are here to help with women’s health negligence, whether it’s linked to cardiac problems, reproductive and birth-related issues, female cancers or any of the other health issues that can arise during a woman’s lifetime.
Current medical knowledge is based on a system of medicine made for men by men, and more often than not, tested on men. Historically the medical profession were entirely male and women were excluded from medical trials.
The evidence to support this is all around us. The signs of a ‘Classic’ or “Hollywood” heart attack are those usually exhibited by men, and women are less likely to be given CPR in public because of a lack of understanding of the physiological differences between them and men.
It’s believed that the gynaecological condition Endometriosis was originally misidentified as ‘hysteria’, a condition based on outdated medical principles which make it hard to believe the concept lasted until relatively recently. Statistics show us that women generally need to visit their GP on more occasions than men to get a specialist referral, and it has long been recognised in academic studies that women fair worse than men when it comes to medical treatment.
Current medical knowledge is based on a system of medicine made for men by men, and women are suffering permanent damage to their health as a result.
#betterforwomen aims to change that.
Harder to get a diagnosis
In 2016, the Brain Tumour Charity released a report on the treatment of brain tumour patients in the United Kingdom. It found that almost one in three of them had visited a doctor more than five times before receiving their diagnosis. Women (as well as low-income patients) experienced longer delays. They were more likely than men to see 10 or more months pass between their first visit to a doctor and diagnosis – and to have made more than five visits to a doctor prior to diagnosis.
Prompt treatment of any cancer is essential to the patient’s survival, and any delays in diagnosis raise the risk that by the time the cancer is found, it will be too late to cure.
The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists have created a report named ‘Better for Women’ which attempts to address these issues.
The report is hard hitting and makes strong recommendations on many aspects of a woman’s health, including around contraception and abortion, which some will find unpalatable. It aims to put women at the heart of the healthcare system and remove the health inequalities that history has created.
The primary recommendation of the report is the creation of a ‘National Women’s Health Strategy that adopts a life course approach to women’s health’ which is regarded as the first important step towards ensuring better health for girls and women, now and in the future.
The report identifies several themes which run throughout the recommendations.
The report recommends a wider approach to supporting women's health to keep women in the workforce
- End the data gender gap by funding more studies focused on women’s health and responses to treatment to eliminate gender bias evident in diagnosis, treatment and medical research.
- Women’s health issues should be embedded in workplace policies
- There should be increased awareness of pelvic floor dysfunction. A taskforce should be set up to raise awareness of urinary and faecal incontinence and prolapse in women.
- Access to accurate education and information should be a given. Embarassment, stigma, fear of pain and lack of accessible information stop women talking about personal health issues and seeking support.
- School should be the start of education of all women’s health issues (and not just for girls)
- The NHS website should become the world’s best source of information for girls, women and clinicians.
Prevention and empowerment should be a focus to avoid missed opportunities:
- access to planned and emergency contraception to reduce unplanned pregnancy;
- consider health issues before, during and after pregnancy
- abortion up to 24 weeks should be available across the UK without fear of penalty or harassment
- look at health before, during and after menopause
Education, planning and prevention saves the NHS money – management of women’s health would reduce the cost of treatment. Osteoporosis, poor pelvic floor health, cardiovascular disease and dementia can all be reduced by education and preventative steps.
Prevent gynaecological cancer mortality across a women’s life course:
- improve cervical screening uptake
- improve early diagnosis and treatment of gynaecological cancers
Fragmentation of NHS Women’s health care services leads to difficulty of access. One stop clinics need to be developed to allow easier access to contraception, increase the uptake of cervical screening and provide access for all to abortion care.
Fighting for equality in healthcare
We believe that everyone should have access to the same high standards of healthcare, and if you have been the victim of negligence, we’ll fight to get you the compensation needed to access care and rehabilitation.0800 044 8488