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Government publishes strategy to improve women’s health

27 July 2022

The Government's Women's Health Strategy published last week commits to addressing disparities in outcomes experienced by some groups – including Disabled women.

The strategy's "six key points for transformational change" include one aimed at "ensuring that a woman's age, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, or where she is from does not impact upon her ability to access services, or the treatment they receive". It also promises to improve data collection around the health of Disabled women and some other groups covered by equalities legislation – including women from ethnic minorities.

The strategy also sets out plans for improving access to screening services and for encouraging more research into how new approaches to improving cancer care for the whole population affect Disabled women and other groups with poorer health outcomes.

While noting that women have a higher life expectancy than men, the strategy says they live a higher proportion of their lives with long term health conditions or a disability.

Fazilet Hadi, DR UK's Head of Policy, said that while the strategy was welcomed, it was unclear what priority it would be given in the context of an NHS struggling to deliver the most basic health care. It contains few specific initiatives to improve the health of Disabled women and our access to NHS services.

The strategy's few specific proposals for improving Disabled women's health outcomes include a previously announced programme to improve workplace support for Disabled people and people with health conditions.

Fazilet Hadi said: "Given the strategy's recognition of the health gap that Disabled women experience this is a missed opportunity to develop initiatives and projects to close the gap."