The Health Policy Changes in England Supporting Women Starting in 2022!

Published: 28/07/2022

Everything you need to know about England's policy changes to better support women's health!

This blog outlines the recent changes to England's policy changes in aid of further supporting women's reproductive and sexual health - with MAJOR effects on better support for menopause and fertility! These areas of women's health are particularly debilitating within the workplace. Find out more about how critical life stages are affecting your employees:

Check out how menopause is affecting your employees here.

Discover more about how planning and fertility issues creep into the workplace here.

There were some awesome government announcements last week as part of the UK's Women's Health Strategy! If you haven't seen these yet, here's a mini breakdown of what's happened! 

1. Expanded FREE access to fertility treatment 

2. Supply chain reorganisation - helping guarantee the availability of crucial medicines 

3. Introduce a pregnancy loss certificate in England 

4. Expansion of dedicated woman's health hubs across England

5. £10m of funding for breast cancer screening 

6. Improvements to the IVF rules and regulations, making them more robust and inclusive for same-sex couples!

These policy changes and investments are a great start to helping women up and down the UK improve and maintain their overall health. Read on for more information on these key policy changes!

What is the Women's Health Strategy?

Over the spring and summer of 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care conducted a large-scale, 100,000 participant study. 

The aim of this is to better understand the health and wellbeing needs of women in the current socio-economic climate. From this data and expert guidance, the Woman's Health Strategy was born.

What is its Purpose?

The Women's Health Strategy has many agendas, the primary ones include:

Integrating women's considerations into the health care system

  • Government to make a concerted effort to listen to women on women's health (rather than men!), and give them the influence they need to make the changes that are needed.
  • The health and care system has representation for women's health at every level.

Boosting the standard and accessibility of women's health, education and information

  •  All women have access to reliable and thorough information, regardless of their background.
  •  Professionals have the necessary knowledge to offer excellent guidance and care related to women's health.

Ensuring the health and care system understands and is responsive to women’s health and care needs across the lifestages

  • At every stage of life, women have easy access to care for all of their sexual and reproductive healthcare requirements.
  • The core components of this strategy for improving women's health are prevention, early intervention, and public health.

Maximising woman's health in the workplace

  • Ensuring there are no barriers caused by poor woman's health which affects their participation within the workplace.

Ensuring data, research, and evidence are used to advance women's health

  • Across all health and care functions, there is consistent, up-to-date and relevant data available.
  • Close the gender data gap through collating information equally amongst women and men, for their needs drastically differ when it comes to healthcare.

Breakdown of what's been proposed

1. Expanded FREE access to fertility treatment 

Giving everyone a better chance of becoming a parent to a happy and healthy child, regardless of location, sexual orientation or other non-clinical criteria (like having had a child from a previous relationship). This reduces psychological-emotional disorders associated with infertility such as depression, insomnia and anxiety to name a few.

2. Supply chain reorganisation - decreased wait time for essential medications

Earlier this year amidst the global supply chain shortage of just about everything, inevitably, infertility medications were also in short supply, particularly Clomid which helps an infertile woman ovulate. 2 in 3 pharmacies are currently suffering daily medication shortages. Improving supply chains will ensure women can get the medication they need for their sexual and reproductive health.

3. Introduction of a pregnancy loss certificate in England 

This is significant as it finally means pre-24 week pregnancy loss is recognised! This will lead to parents dealing with pregnancy loss having improved support and lawful backing when it comes to taking grievance leave without taking a loss on earnings. 

4. Expansion of dedicated woman's health hubs, making access to maternity, gynaecology and sexual health services far more accessible.

It's undeniable that in 99% of cases, women require more access to healthcare than men when it comes to their sexual and reproductive health. Facilitating greater access will help improve women's health as there will be an increase in availability, and the health hub means that several health issues can be addressed at the same time, increasing prevention and early intervention of health issues which can become much worse.

5. £10m of funding for breast cancer screening - 25 additional mobile screening units to be deployed into low testing areas

With a growing and ageing population in England, the requirement for increased breast cancer screening is obvious. The increased access for women will help detect breast cancer at earlier, treatable stages, decreasing breast cancer mortality rates overall.

6. Improvements to the IVF rules and regulations, making them more robust and inclusive for same-sex couples!

With the modern couple population becoming more prominent within the UK, the need to offer fair treatment across all aspects of life is another great step forward for the LGBTQ+ community.

7. Increase support for women's health through better access to hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Ensuring that all women in the UK have equal access to vital treatment to make menopausal symptoms more manageable. This will help women mitigate the debilitating effects of menopause, and help them achieve a happy and healthy fulfilling life.

The Key Benefits of the Women's Health Strategy

Unfortunately, sexual and reproductive health issues are causing many hundreds of thousands of women up and down the country to suffer unnecessarily. With the public sector employing new policies and increasing funding, there is (finally) hope for the future of women’s health. The benefits of this initiative include:

  1. Bettering the quality of life for women in the UK
  2. Giving everyone an equal chance of becoming parents, regardless of sexual orientation
  3. Help fight breast cancer
  4. Improve the infrastructure that helps support women's health
  5. Keeping women in employment, with a fair chance at career progression.
  6. And of course, help close the gender pay gap!

Find out more about related woman's health topics by looking at our other resources below:

The Link Between Breast Cancer Hormone Replacement Therapy 

Alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy

Lifestyle Factors to Improve Menopause Symptoms

How to Better Support Working Parents in your Organisation 

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