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New appointment aims to improve women’s health in Wales

08 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Dr Helen Munro, a consultant in sexual and reproductive healthcare, will take up the role of Wales’ first ever clinical lead for women’s health.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan has marked International Women’s Day by welcoming the appointment of a new clinical lead for women’s health in Wales.

Dr Helen Munro, a consultant in sexual and reproductive healthcare, will take up the role of Wales’ first ever clinical lead for women’s health.

Together with Alex Hicks, the new strategic network manager, she will lead the National Clinical Strategic Network for Women’s Health in developing the Women’s Health Plan for Wales.

The development of the plan will be underpinned by the results of a wide-ranging survey completed by almost 4,000 women and girls who shared their health experiences.

Research

The Health Minister has also announced £750,000 to commission research, from April next year, focused entirely on women’s health.

“I am delighted to announce funding for women’s health research. Research into women’s health has often been overlooked and underfunded and we know far too little about many conditions that affect women and girls every day, often with debilitating effects,” Eluned Morgan said.

“This research will be based upon a prioritisation exercise seeking the views of those with lived experience and health and social care professionals on the issues that matter most to them.”

Just over half (51%) of women have reported long-standing illness, and 40% of women report feeling limited by these illnesses. This compares with 45% of men who report long-standing illness, and 30% who say they feel limited by their illnesses.

Endometriosis

Work to improve women’s health services has included the publication of the Quality Statement for Women’s and Girls’ Health and the Women’s Health Implementation Group, which has been looking at issues like pelvic health, use of mesh, endometriosis and faecal incontinence.

Pelvic health co-ordinators and dedicated endometriosis nurses are now working in every health board in Wales.

Progress is being seen across all health boards in Wales and include the creation of a Women’s Health Hub at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital to bring all gynaecology services together in one place.

In addition, training for NHS staff on women’s health issues has been introduced alongside the mandatory inclusion of menstrual wellbeing education in the new curriculum.

Ms Morgan added:”Women and girls make up just over half the population but we still hear stories of women’s voices and concerns about conditions being dismissed.

“I have been clear in my commitment to improve women’s health services and outcomes for women and girls and addressing the inequalities that exist in our health service.

“I am pleased women’s health is beginning to get the focus it needs and I expect the new women’s health network and the clinical lead to bring together more women’s voices from the NHS and beyond to deliver a plan worthy of the name.”


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