NHS doctors to be trained to recognise women’s pain under new government plan

·2-min read
Photo credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY - Getty Images
Photo credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY - Getty Images

The UK government has unveiled a 10-year plan to ensure doctors recognise women's pain in a bid to improve the NHS, which it says "has been designed by men, for men".

Under the plan medical students will be required to take new exams focused on the menopause and common gynaecological disorders in order to advance the diagnosis and treatment of women's health issues.

The Department of Health announced the strategy on Wednesday after a consultation of 100,000 women found that 80% felt NHS healthcare staff don't listen to them. Participants also said they feel that their suffering is ignored when it comes to issues such as puberty, fertility, menopause and old age.

Other issues to be tackled within the strategy include menstrual health, fertility and pregnancy, menopause, mental health, violence against women and girls healthy ageing, improving IVF access and eliminating cervical cancer with the HPV vaccine.

Photo credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc - Getty Images

There will also be an improvement in access to fertility treatment for same-sex couples and measures to abolish the "postcode lottery" concerning access to fertility treatment.

The Department of Health hopes to diminish beliefs that women's health concerns or painful symptoms are to be endured, and to "right the wrongs" of decades of institutional sexism in the NHS.

Health secretary Steve Barclay and health minister Maria Caulfield said of the strategy, per The Times: "It sets out how we will improve the way in which the health and care system listens to women’s voices, and boost health outcomes for women and girls."

Referring to the "male as default" in research, clinical trials, education and training for healthcare professionals, and policies and services, officials behind the report state: "This has led to gaps in our data and evidence base which mean that not enough is known about conditions that only affect women, for example menopause or endometriosis."

Discussing the "failing: healthcare system, women’s health ambassador Dame Lesley has said that the new strategy will "reset the dial" on women’s health.

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