WE’RE just a few days into the New Year, but a new announcement means 2022 could finally be the year when the gender health gap starts to close.
The Government has unveiled a new strategy, Vision For The Women’s Health Strategy For England, and is set to appoint a women’s health ambassador too.
But while it’s very much welcomed, it’s not the only health inequality in this country we need to address.
The pandemic showed black, Asian and minority ethnic groups had poorer health outcomes than their Caucasian counterparts.
These inequalities largely replicate existing racial inequalities in health and healthcare more generally.
The MBRRACE report, a confidential inquiry into maternal deaths in the UK, shows that black women are four times more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than white women.
We know less wealth unfortunately also means less health, so while we need to close the gender health gap that has existed since the creation of the NHS, we also need to make health care across the board equal, regardless of a patient’s skin colour or demographic.
In March last year I wrote this about the gender health gap. I also encouraged you to contribute when the Government requested responses for this strategy.
The fact that 100,000 individuals contributed is amazing but also shows how rife the gender health gap is, and it affects women across all conditions, not just women’s health.
Diabetes, heart attacks and autism are just some conditions that can present differently in women but there’s systemic unconscious bias in medicine which means women come off worse than their male counterparts.
Most read in The Sun
Carol Vorderman 'unrecognisable' in new photo as she slams 'horrible' filters
Kyle Walker secretly weds childhood sweetheart despite cheating & fathering lovechild
Liz Hurley, 56, wears sexy Supergirl outfit & frolics on floor with mystery man
ITV News reporter Gary Burgess dead at 46 after long battle with cancer
A 2016 study found women with dementia received worse medical treatment than men with the same condition.
Less than 2.5 per cent of publicly-funded research is dedicated to reproductive health, despite it affecting one in three of us.
UK researchers have also estimated that more than 8,000 women in the UK have died unnecessarily of a heart attack over a ten-year period, due to inferior care when compared to men.
If you didn’t think the gender health gap was real, those statistics prove it’s killing women every year.
It’s literally a matter of life and death that we close the gap.
In clinic, I see women come in who think they should just put up with debilitating conditions like incontinence.
They believe it’s “women’s problems” and is part and parcel of their gender, but it’s not.
Women tell me they’ve felt belittled or uncomfortable about taking up a doctor’s time with things like period pain, yet in all my years of practice, I’ve never heard a male patient say anything similar.
Attitudes are changing though, and the new Government announcement can’t come round fast enough.
I hope it brings serious change and levels the playing field for women, but if you’re reading this and have a health issue you feel hasn’t been taken seriously because of your gender, there are things you can do while we await the closing of the gender health gap.
Women tell me they’ve felt belittled or uncomfortable about taking up a doctor’s time with things like period pain, yet in all my years of practice, I’ve never heard a male patient say anything similar
Firstly, recognise it’s society’s fault, not your fault, that you haven’t been able to access the healthcare you need.
Secondly, if your condition is women’s health related, check your GP practice website to see if a nurse or doctor there has a special interest in women’s health and make a routine appointment to see them.
If you feel you haven’t been taken seriously by one doctor, you’re well within your rights to request to see a different one.
Depending on what your condition is, make an appointment to see the practice nurse.
They are often excellent at helping with women’s health.
Finally, please don’t wait any longer than you already have.
Whatever you’re dealing with, if it’s affecting your life, you need to access medical help.
The woman I saw who came in for incontinence had been living with it for years before she sought help.
Women across the UK are closing gender gaps all the time. Now it’s medicine’s chance to shine and treat every patient equally.
Source: Read Full Article