Released on: 11 June 2021
NCT contributes to the Government’s strategy to improve women's health and care.
There has already been an incredible response to the Government’s call for evidence, with over 100,000 women, organisations, clinicians and carers sharing their experiences of the health and care system. This will help to inform the first ever Women's Health Strategy.
Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Adviser, NCT, says: “We’ve emphasised that women’s voices must be listened to at every level: from individual care and local services to national and government circles.
“In particular, there must be focus on those whose maternity outcomes are known to be at greater risk of harm, including women from Black and Asian backgrounds and women living in areas of deprivation.
“With women forming over half of the population, and 77% of the NHS workforce, their wellbeing is critical. It’s everyone’s business to make sure women’s health is promoted to build a strong society.”
NCT’s response to the Women’s Health Strategy emphasises:
- Women’s voices must be at the centre of their health and care. NCT calls for full and open demonstration that women’s views are heard at every level.
- Information and education on women’s health must be improved so that women are confident enough to make more decisions about their care. NCT believes health professionals should be trained and supported to handle discussions with women, particularly regarding medication (including vaccinations) during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Genuinely personalised care along with continuity of carer is the way forward.
- Postnatal care is key to the rest of women’s lives. With the present high proportion of births that require interventions, it is essential that women have opportunity to discuss the implications of pregnancy or birth complications.
- Ensuring research, evidence and data support improvements in women’s health. More investment is needed in research. Priority-setting should always involve current service users and those with caring responsibilities. Communication needs to be improved between researchers and health practitioners to put evidence into practice. NCT notes the current lack of robust data on postnatal care outcomes and breastfeeding rates. National-level data collection should lead to better services and improve physical and mental health for new mothers and babies.