Women’s healthcare in Britain ‘worse than in China and Saudi Arabia’

Women’s healthcare UK doctors nurses patients China Saudi Arabia - Choja/E+
Women’s healthcare UK doctors nurses patients China Saudi Arabia – Choja/E+

Women’s healthcare in the UK is worse than that of China and Saudi Arabia, according to a global tracker.

Poor efforts at prevention, diagnosis and treatment of health problems left the UK ranked lower than several countries with a troubling record on women’s rights.

The research, which compared a wealth of data, found Britain fared worse than most comparable Western countries, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, France and Germany.

The UK was placed 30th out of 122 countries, in the 2021 Hologic Global Women’s Health Index published on Tuesday.

The score – three points lower than when a similar exercise was carried out last year – places it on a par with Kazakhstan, Slovenia, Kosovo and Poland for women’s healthcare provision.

Overall, the place of 30th was far worse than the position of 12 reached the previous year.

While direct comparisons are not possible because several of the countries examined this year were not included last year, the findings show a deterioration in the position of Britain, which was previously rated better than countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, the US, France and New Zealand.

‘Government consistently deprioritising women’s health’

The index by Hologic, a global medical technology company specialising in women’s health, is based on a survey of more than 127,000 people worldwide by Gallup, the analytics firm.

Analysts said that poor access to screening, long waits for diagnosis and a lack of support for mental health were among the factors explaining Britain’s poor ranking.

The UK Government has been accused of “consistently deprioritising” women’s health after it was reported last month that gynaecology waiting times in England had trebled in a decade.

On average, women now wait nearly four months for a first hospital appointment with a gynaecology specialist. However, nearly 38,000 women in England have been on the waiting list for more than a year.

The index highlighted issues with mental health support provision in the UK, with the country’s score for women’s emotional health falling eight points in a year to 68 out of 100.

On preventive care, such as cancer and diabetes screening, the UK scored just 23 out of 100. A separate Hologic survey of 10,000 people in the UK found those from ethnic minorities were particularly at risk of missing out.

Women in pain taking the strain

In the UK, women in pain also often have problems accessing a diagnosis.

One in five British women experienced pain daily. However, more than a quarter had not been able to get a diagnosis at all and 15 per cent got one only after eight or more visits to healthcare professionals, the UK-only poll found.

Women in the UK who suffered with pain needed to see a doctor 4.3 times on average before the cause was diagnosed.

Dr Nighat Arif, a GP specialising in women’s health, said she hoped that the Government’s Women’s Health Strategy, which was launched last year, would help improve education and awareness around women’s health.

She said: “I see barriers every day in my GP practice that women face in accessing routine care and even life-saving preventative health measures, such as cervical and breast cancer screenings, that can cause unnecessary delays to diagnosis and treatment for women.

“Sadly, often [women’s pain is] seen as something to put up with, rather than something you can get support for. The reasons for pain in women are complex. For GPs, who have a limited time for consultation, it can be difficult to pinpoint a diagnosis in one appointment.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We have put women’s health at the top of the agenda by publishing the Women’s Health Strategy for England, appointing the first-ever Women’s Health Ambassador, and taking action to increase supply and reduce the cost of hormone replacement therapy.

“The strategy sets out our 10-year ambitions for boosting the health and wellbeing of women and girls, and for improving how the health and care system listens to all women.”

Adverse reactions to medication

Elsewhere, a separate study found that women are at least 80 per cent more likely than men to suffer adverse drug reactions to pills doled out by their GPs.

Researchers found that one in four people suffered at least one such reaction over a six-year period, with women and those on at least five pills at least 80 per cent more likely to suffer such harms.

The study, published in the British Journal Of General Practice, monitored 592 patients aged 70 and older from 15 general practices in the Republic of Ireland over a six-year period.

Prof Emma Wallace, the study’s author from University College Cork, said women could respond differently to men to the same medications and might be put on different types of drugs, some of which might be more likely to cause stronger reactions.

Published by anthonyhayble

I AM A PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER WHO BLOGS ON EVENTS, NEWS AND CELEBRITY ACTIVITIES. YOU WILL GET THE LATEST BLOGGING UPDATES WITH UP TO DATE NEWS AND EVENTS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU. COMMENTS AND LIKES ARE ALSO WELCOMED. I AM STILL IN THE PROCESS OF BUILDING AND UPDATING MY BLOGS AND IT WOULD BE UP AND RUNNING SHORTLY. THIS IS STILL A NEW SITE AND WILL GREATLY IMPROVE WITH TIME

%d bloggers like this: