New Women's Health Strategy is opportunity to improve care but workforce action needed

Chair of the NHS Confederation's Health and Care Women Leader's Network Sam Allen responds to the publication of the Women's Health Strategy.

20 July 2022

Responding to the publication of the Women's Health Strategy, Samantha Allen, Chair of the NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network, said:
“Women spend more of their life in poor health, often limiting their ability to work and participate in everyday activities as they try and navigate a health and care system which is not addressing their needs. The Women’s Health Strategy provides an opportunity to tackle the deep rooted and systemic issues that exist within our health and care system.
“The Health and Care Women Leaders Network responded to the consultation on the first Women’s Health Strategy for England and welcomes it's publication¹. Whilst this is an opportunity to improve health outcomes for women, it will require a fundamental change in how the NHS provides care to women and listens to their needs alongside supporting our own workforce to ensure they work in a supportive environment that meets their needs.
“The contribution women make to the health and wellbeing of the nation has never been more visible or important. Women make up three quarters of the NHS workforce, over 80 per cent of the social care workforce and a high proportion of unpaid carers. Women have been a significant presence in the frontline response to COVID-19, and our female health and care workforce survey found that this had negatively impacted on their health². The role women play in the wellbeing of society is significant and this strategy sets clear priorities to ensure their needs are met.
“In light of this, national bodies need to develop a specific Women’s Health Plan for the NHS and social care workforce and ensure all women can progress their careers in an equitable way, and that poor health doesn’t stand as an impediment to development. 
“The NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network stands ready to support Dame Lesley Regan in her role as the first Women’s Health Ambassador and facilitate the implementation of the Women’s Health Strategy and ensure the NHS is leading the way with regard to how it looks after it’s own workforce.”