Women's Health Network
As a response to the publication of the women’s health strategy, our team identified the need to start a conversation on a more local scale. A workshop was hosted by One Wirral as an opportunity to bring together people and organisations together who have an interest in improving women’s health in Wirral. We were able to highlight the women’s health strategy and what support is currently available in Wirral, with key speakers in attendance as well as facilitating some group work where people were able to discuss the future and see where we could collectively help influence and inform what happens locally.
Throughout the workshop, barriers to women accessing healthcare in Wirral were discussed, which included some of the following areas:
- Short length of GP consultation time
- Accessibility to GP appointments due to work and home life – appointments available are generally during working hours
- Women’s issues not being taken seriously
- E-consult system barrier for people with accessibility issues
- Access to contraception and sexual health education and knowing what is available
- Long waiting lists
- Lack of privacy when speaking to receptionists at GP Practice
- GP education on what supports are out there
- Not knowing our own bodies
- Resources (no local menopause services in secondary care)
- Men and women’s understanding of what constitutes domestic violence
- Not feeling empowered to prioritise their own health vs. families
There were then discussions to find possible solutions to help remove or at least the barriers:
- Training for health care professionals
- Improve access to education and health literature
- Women’s health champions and having more women involved in decision making
- Develop services in pharmacies
- Working with schools
- Collaborate and share venues
- Regular networking events to share what is new in local services, to keep momentum going, share resources and to allow for greater co-designing and co-production
- Using non-medical models and having a one-stop shop and/or drop-in services
- More flexibility between services
- Acknowledging social factors
- Employer support
- Improving accessibility language/hearing/sight barriers
- Holistic/ person centred approach
A key takeaway we found from the session was the need for greater health education and to improve health literacy, and thinking of ways to address these all whilst being aware of those who may not be digitally active. For example, a suggested solution was to utilise school nurses to promote positive women’s sexual health and wellbeing as well as using groups already running to hold women’s health education sessions.
Where are we up to?
We continue to liaise with other organisations and hold workshops and events that involve multiple stakeholders, for example, we have looked for funding opportunities as well as holding an online session about the history of women’s health in Wirral delivered by Sue Henry who worked in the women’s health hub in the 80’s and 90’s. We wanted to take a look back and learn from Sue in terms of what worked and what didn’t, which we could then use as we move forward.
On the 27th November, we will be holding a One Wirral Education Event, which will focus on upskilling GPs across south Wirral on the topic of menopause. The session will be an interactive, evidence-based menopause learning event, enabling practitioners to better manage day-to-day menopause scenarios.