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Plan to improve women’s health going unheeded – Labour

(PA)
(PA)

The Scottish Government is failing to deliver the promises to improve women’s health it made a year ago, Scottish Labour has said.

A women’s health champion is still to be appointed despite a pledge to do so this summer, the party said.

In August 2021, the government published a 68-page document with a number of proposals to improve women’s health.

As well as a national champion, it called for a women’s health lead in every NHS board.

Labour says health boards have also failed to fully adopt an accreditation programme designed to tackle gender inequality.

almost no action has been taken

Labour MSP Carol Mochan said: “One year on from the launch of the Women’s Health Plan and almost no action has been taken by this SNP-Green government.

“If the Scottish Government struggles to meet its short-term targets in the women’s health plan, then women across Scotland have reason to question when they can expect medium- and longer-term priorities to be delivered.

“Tackling inequalities in women’s health must be a priority for this government – instead, Humza Yousaf and Maree Todd are happy to sit on their hands and let things get worse for Scotland’s women.

“The people of Scotland deserve better than empty commitments and a litany of broken promises from the SNP.

“Scottish Labour will continue to fight to eradicate health inequalities from our society and deliver workplaces that are respectful and understanding of women’s health matters.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Our Women’s Health Plan, which was the first of its kind in the UK, raises awareness about women’s health and aims to reduce health inequalities for girls and women.

“We have made good progress in the first year, including improved access to accurate and consistent information by launching a Women’s Health platform on NHS Inform; improved access to services with a menopause specialist service in place in each mainland Health Board, and a buddy system in the Islands; and we launched a joint research call with Wellbeing for Women on endometriosis. We will appoint a Women’s Health Champion this summer.

“We are determined to ensure all women are able to access timely abortions without judgement, free from stigma or harassment. We will assist the development of national level legislation that will allow safe access to healthcare facilities that provide abortion services.

“The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) has not yet made a recommendation on the use of self-sampling in the national cervical screening programme, however we are taking the necessary steps to ensure we can roll it out as soon as possible once a recommendation is made. Patient safety is our top priority and we will not act until we are assured it is safe to do so.”