GPs should receive ‘compulsory’ training on women’s health issues such as menopause and IVF, evidence submitted to the Government’s consultation into the issue suggests.
Published today (23 December), the paper outlines the DHSC’s vision for improving gender health inequality and is underpinned by more than 100,000 responses.
Respondents to the consultation highlighted the ‘need for healthcare professionals to receive better education and training on women’s health conditions’, particularly around menopause and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
The DHSC also heard there was a ‘lack of awareness’ among some GPs about the causes of infertility, miscarriages and the reasons for IVF failure.
Respondents called for compulsory training for GPs, suggesting this would create an ‘empathetic, supportive and informed’ environment, with the focus on GPs in particular stemming from their position as the first port of call.
Meanwhile, as many as eight-in-10 respondents felt they were not listened to by healthcare professionals, with nearly two-in-three who had a health condition or disability stating they do not feel supported by their services.
Similarly, evidence highlighted the consensus that services for specialities or conditions which only affect women are ‘of lower priority compared to other services’.
The DHSC stated it intends to ensure clinical guidelines represent the ‘latest evidence on women’s health conditions’, healthcare professionals supported in implementing these.
It added that it will work with NHS Digital to make sure digital information is accessible and meets the health needs of women.
The publication of the Women’s Health Strategy for England will come later in 2022, with further details on what actions the Government will take.
It comes as the Covid pandemic continues to emphasise and worsen gender-based health inequalities.
The JCVI last week added pregnant people as a Covid clinical risk group, making them a priority for Covid vaccination.
And GPs were urged to ‘make every contact count’ with these patients after evidence indicated almost 20% of the most critically ill Covid patients in England between July and October were pregnant women who had not been vaccinated.
Last month, the DHSC announced it had commissioned a report into possible race and gender bias in the design and use of medical devices.