The Scottish government has published the Women’s Health Plan (2021-24), which includes principles and priorities for women’s healthcare in Scotland.
The plan has been broadly welcomed, and underpins actions aimed at reducing health inequalities, improving access and ensuring all women enjoy the best possible healthcare throughout their lives.
The CSP had lobbied the Scottish government to improve access to obstetric and gynaecological physiotherapy, particularly for women suffering stress urinary incontinence. Although incontinence is not listed as a strategic priority in the new plan, pelvic health is recognised as a health need throughout the life stages.
Sara Conroy, CSP professional adviser for Scotland, said:
We welcome the published commitments to improve women’s health, contained in a single document that will advance women’s health and be a driver for change. But it is disappointing that incontinence, which has been the subject of controversy in Scotland for more than a decade, has not been specifically prioritised.
As a condition that affects millions of women in the UK, the recognition of pelvic health in each of the stages of life for women offers scope for us to continue to push for improved access to physiotherapy for all those that can benefit.
Women wait longer to be diagnosed for many conditions and are more likely to wrongly have their physical symptoms ascribed to mental health issues. At the same time, they are more likely to experience depression and anxiety as a result of a physical long-term condition. The inequity in women’s access to health is compounded by factors including ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic background.
Earlier this summer, the CSP also submitted to the forthcoming Women’s Health Strategy for England
CSP urges government to reform healthcare for women | The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
The Women's Health Plan can be viewed at Women's Health Plan - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
CSP advice pages on incontinence Incontinence | The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (csp.org.uk)
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