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Community pharmacy must be ‘at the heart’ of women’s health strategy

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Community pharmacy must be ‘at the heart’ of women’s health strategy

This story was originally published by Independent Community Pharmacist.

The National Pharmacy Association’s policy manager Helen Mangion has welcomed the government’s announcement of a set of new priorities for the second year of its women’s health strategy but warned women “risk losing out” unless community pharmacies are placed “at the heart” of the plan.

Number 10’s update to the strategy, published yesterday, lays out plans to improve services around menstrual problems and the menopause, maternity care and birth trauma support as well as ensuring victims of domestic and sexual abuse receive better support in the criminal justice system.

The government, which promised to invest £50 million to tackle maternity disparities, cited its success since the strategy’s launch in reducing the cost of hormone replacement therapy and creation of women’s health hubs but Mangion said community pharmacies’ unique access to local communities means they must be an integral part of those hubs.

“It’s excellent news that women’s health and wellbeing is receiving the attention it deserves from policymakers. Women are the largest users of pharmacies so we know well how important it is to help them access the advice, health care and medication they need,” she said

“The government’s ambition to set up women’s health hubs has the potential to open up health services for them but women risk losing out if we don’t put the network of community pharmacies at the heart of this initiative.

“Pharmacies are in the centre of communities and should be at the centre of our work to close health inequalities. They already help millions of women every week; we’d be missing a brilliant opportunity if we don’t use the fantastic network of pharmacies we already have.”

The government said it will invest £25 million to establish one “fully functioning hub in every local area this year.” Those hubs, it promised, will “improve women’s access to care, improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities.”

The health secretary Victoria Atkins said “there is more to do” when it came to improving the health of women “regardless of socioeconomic background or ethnicity.”

“We’re breaking historical barriers that prevent women getting the care they need, building greater understanding of women’s healthcare issues and ensuring their voices and choices are listened to,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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