CSP welcomes new strategy on women’s health

The CSP plans to submit evidence to inform a new government women’s health strategy  and is calling on physios to share how the service they provide tackles health inequalities. 

Women's health strategy 2021

The government’s planned Women’s Health Strategy was announced on 8 March.

The CSP champions the importance of improving access to quality rehabilitation as a fundamental way to tackle the cycle of heath inequalities.

Rachel Newton, CSP’s head of policy, said the strategy has the potential to shine ‘a much needed spotlight on women’s health’. 

‘Women tend to have poorer access to rehabilitation services to prevent deterioration or help manage a whole range of long term health conditions,' she said.

‘And while women live longer than men, they spend more years than men in poor general health resulting from chronic health conditions. Rehabilitation services that should be meeting these needs are historically under-resourced.

For women who are suffering from depression, live in socio-economically deprived areas or are from BAME backgrounds or who have a disability, the issue of rehabilitation needs being left unmet is much more severe and so action is needed.

Rehab should be first option for pelvic floor disorders


Another area where action is needed is in pelvic rehabilitation. Since the early 2000s, many women with pelvic floor disorders haven been offered transvaginal mesh implants.

A pause on the use of mesh – due to the risk of complications – has been in place since Baroness Cumberlege’s First Do No Harm report in July 2020.

‘In many cases women who turn to the NHS with pelvic health and continence issues are directed first to surgery rather than rehabilitative treatment,’ observed Ms Newton.   

The NHS Long Term Plan is committed to multidisciplinary maternity teams that include physiotherapists who can advise women after childbirth on strengthening pelvic floor muscles, through exercise

‘This level of support needs to be available to women of all ages with pelvic health issues and women should be referred for pelvic rehabilitation before surgical options are considered.’

The Women’s Health Strategy will be looking at all aspects of health needs and inequalities experienced by women, including inequalities in the workplace.

If you have issues you think the CSP should raise relating to women’s health, or if you have an example of how your service has addressed health inequalities more generally, please get in touch with Rachel Newton at policy@csp.org.uk

The deadline to submit evidence for the Women’s Health Strategy is 31 May.

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