The SNP Government has published its Women’s Health Plan, to improve health and reduce inequalities for women in Scotland.
Crucially, the plan includes 11 short, mid and long term actions to help tackle Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) including Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD), the biggest killer of women in Scotland.
Seven women in Scotland die of IHD ever day: it kills three times as many women as breast cancer and around 100,000 women in Scotland are currently living with it. It is also the leading cause of maternal death in the UK.
The Women’s Health Plan contains concrete steps to help raise awareness amongst female patients as well as health care professionals to recognise the symptoms, improve treatment outcomes, and work towards a reflective level of female representation in clinical trials.
Scotland is the first country in the UK to have a Women’s Health Plan, which outlines ambitious improvement and change in areas including menopause, heart health, menstrual health including endometriosis, and sexual health.
The Women’s Health Plan sets out 66 actions to ensure all women enjoy the best possible healthcare throughout their lives. It takes on board the real life experiences of women who have given their feedback on what is important to them.
Key actions include:
appointing a national Women’s Health Champion and a Women’s Health Lead in every NHS board
establishing a Women’s Health Research Fund to close gaps in scientific and medical knowledge
providing a central platform for women’s health information on NHS Inform
setting up a Women’s Health Community Pharmacy service
commissioning endometriosis research to develop better treatment and management, and a cure
developing a menopause and menstrual health workplace policy, and promoting it across the public, private and Third Sector
improving information and public awareness of heart disease symptoms and risks for women
Kenneth Gibson MSP welcomed the plan, saying:
“Women make up just over half of Scotland’s population and it is hugely important that that becomes better reflected in our health care system.
“While I have campaigned on endometriosis, the need for women to have equal treatment of heart disease and improved ante natal care and the establishment of nurse family practitioners over the years, I am delighted to see that ways to improve the quality of life of those who suffer from endometriosis in particular will be advanced.
“I am also delighted at efforts to deal more effectively with Ischaemic Heart Disease in women, given the fact that this is not only the number one cause of death for women in Scotland and it tends to require life-long treatment.
“The Women’s Health Plan contains a host of exciting and necessary steps to improve the quality of life and prospects of women and girls across North Ayrshire and Scotland, and I look forward to seeing swift progress on this hugely important set of topics.”