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We want to hear from you on women’s health

Professor Deborah Sturdy, chief nurse for adult social care, is calling on nurses to respond to the government’s new call for evidence on women’s health.

We have all learned a lot during this pandemic and one of the biggest lessons is the importance of health and wellbeing.

After 40 years in nursing, I know that as nurses we deliver incredible care for our patients but we also have our own health issues. And we know, sharing good practice and sharing experiences can be a vital part of treatment not just for ourselves but for others.

And, as chief nurse for adult social care, I am humbled to have the chance to represent the care sector of all genders. I am proud to be a woman and to have fought not just for equality in pay and recognition but also equality in healthcare.

We have reached a pivotal moment where sharing your experiences could change the way treatment is delivered. And I want everyone, from a personal or professional perspective, to respond to the government’s new call for evidence on women’s health.

It will form the basis of a landmark government-led Women’s Health Strategy, to improve the health and wellbeing of women across England and place women’s voices at the centre of their care.

Currently, women account for about 92% of the care workforce and 90% of the nursing workforce. Thousands of you have a lifetime of experiences to share – we are a hugely important group and the government wants to hear from us.

Nurses, those who are women and those who have cared for women, have all built up an incredible amount of knowledge to feed in and we can help shape this milestone strategy.

We all know of the great service we provide, or have received from the health and care system, but I’m sure can also all remember when services may not have worked as perfectly as we would have liked either for ourselves or those we care for.

This 12-week call for evidence will collate both good and bad experiences so we can better understand women’s interactions with the health and care system.

For this to be an ambitious, positive agenda and to make sure the services offered are meeting our needs – this is our chance to have our say both as carers and as women.

We know women generally live longer than men but women spend less of their lives in good health and women’s life expectancy has been improving more slowly than that of men since the 1980s. It’s time we assessed the factors behind this and put in place measures to improve our quality of life.

You have all played a significant and critical part in the pandemic, managed families, been informal carers and lead critical aspects of the response. This year even more than most, we can see the demonstrable role women play in supporting the widest reaches of society and make a difference.

Whether it’s your own experience, or you have something to say about quality and accessibility of information and education on women’s health; maximising women’s health in the workplace; or ensuring research, evidence and data support improvements in women’s health – we want to hear from you: