Physio workforce will be key to first women’s health strategy for England

Physiotherapy staff will have a key role to play in implementing the aims of the first women’s health strategy for England, says CSP.

First women's health strategy for England - 2022

Published today by the Department of Health and Social Care, the new strategy aims to improve the health and wellbeing of women and girls in England and tackle the gender health gap.

It includes key commitments around new research and data gathering, the expansion of women’s health-focused education and ensuring women have access to high quality health information and updating guidance for female specific health conditions.

Welcoming the new strategy’s publication, CSP director of policy Rob Yeldham said: ‘This strategy is an important step in the right direction if we are to tackle the stark gender health gap that has existed for so long.

‘It is imperative that women’s voices are heard and that their lived experiences are acknowledged and better understood in order to shape and improve services within the NHS.

But to deliver on these recommendations we need to ensure we specifically listen to and co-design services with the voices of women who are marginalised due to race, class and disability, for example, and who disproportionately struggle to access rehabilitation services

‘The physiotherapy workforce will be key to achieving all these goals as they play a vital role in supporting women in many areas, not least with pelvic pro-lapse and gynaecological related pain which was found to be one of the top areas where barriers existed in accessing these services.

He added that focusing efforts on research and data gaps would also help to ensure that women, and women with different protected characteristics, were properly represented in clinical trials and studies.

‘Whilst this strategy will hopefully give women hope for a brighter future, for these recommendations to transform into life changing practical actions in local communities, we need the will, proper investment, freedom and support for healthcare professionals to implement changes.’

Pelvic health physiotherapy

Commenting on the key role pelvic health physiotherapists will play in the strategy, Dr Kate Lough, chair of the CSP professional network Pelvic Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy (POGP), said: 

‘POGP welcomes the publication of the First Women’s Health Strategy for England and looks forward to pelvic health physiotherapy fulfilling a key role in the government’s long-term plan for integrated, gendered healthcare over a woman’s lifespan.

‘Building on existing strategies and influenced by women’s voices, these initiatives will encourage women to access healthcare in a timely way, and be better supported along the treatment pathway.

Pelvic health physiotherapy has a role in all aspects of pelvic floor and pelvic pain conditions, which significantly affect women’s well-being

‘The role of the Women’s Health Ambassador will be key to linking the government areas that impact on women’s health - giving health, social care, mental health, justice and equalities a common goal.’ 

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