Shame on UK women’s healthcare rankings: We languish behind Saudi Arabia in the world’s list… and treatments are similar to Kazakhstan
Health care for women in the UK is worse than some countries with poor equality records, including Saudi Arabia and China, a poll has found.
The UK ranks lower than most comparable Western countries, including the US, Australia, New Zealand, France and Germany, in the 2021 Hologic Global Women’s Health Index, published today.
Analysts blamed British women struggling to access preventive care, such as cancer screening, as well as diagnosis of causes of pain and mental health support.
The UK scored just 60 out of 100 – down three points from last year – in the index, which is based on a survey of more than 127,000 people worldwide by analytics company Gallup. This puts it on par with Kazakhstan, Slovenia, Kosovo and Poland. Ireland also scored 60 runs.
The UK ranks lower than most comparable Western countries, including the US, Australia, New Zealand, France and Germany
While the global average was lower at only 53 out of 100, most Western countries scored higher than the UK, which ranked 30th out of 122 countries and territories. Taiwan was at the top with 70 and Afghanistan at the bottom with 22.
The government has been accused of ‘consistently deprioritizing’ women’s health after it was reported in December that waiting times for gynecology in England had tripled in a decade. On average, women now wait almost four months for a first appointment with a gynecologist – but nearly 38,000 women in England have waited more than a year.
The UK’s score for women’s emotional health fell by eight points in a year to 68. For preventive care, such as screening for cancer and diabetes, the UK scored just 23.
A separate Hologic study of 10,000 people in the UK found that one in five British women experienced pain on a daily basis, but more than a quarter had not been diagnosed at all. About 15 percent only got one after eight or more visits to health care professionals.
On preventive care, such as screening for cancer and diabetes, the UK scored just 23
Women experiencing pain had to see a doctor an average of 4.3 times before the cause was determined. Dr. Nighat Arif, a general practitioner specializing in women’s health, said: ‘Unfortunately often [women’s pain is] seen as something to deal with, rather than something you can get support for.
“The reasons for pain in women are complex and for GPs, who have limited speaking time, it can be difficult to make a diagnosis in one appointment.”
The Department of Health 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 . ‘
Women are being let down by the government’s ‘glacial’ progress in making workplaces transition-friendly, MPs warn. A report from the Commission on Women and Equality called for urgent action, but ministers rejected five of its recommendations, including testing specific transition policies, three and a half months late.