SDLP Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin has today presented the results of her survey on women’s health to senior officials at the Department of Health.
The survey gathered more than five hundred signatures, with 90% of respondents saying that there is inadequate service provision available for the biggest healthcare issues affecting women and 96% supporting the establishment of a Women’s Health Strategy.
Respondents listed mental health, gynaecological health and menopause as the main healthcare issues facing women.
Ms McLaughlin said:
“The results of this survey outline in black and white the scale of the challenges which women are facing when it comes to accessing healthcare and many of the responses that we received are as disturbing as they are heartbreaking. The stories that women have shared paint a picture of a health service which is totally broken and failing to address their needs, leaving many in debilitating pain and simply unable to cope.
"From menopause to mental health, there are still far too many barriers to accessing care and a stigma around women's health is prevalent in our society. One respondent to the survey described that it feels that they have to fight for every appointment, and I know how widespread that feeling remains.
“I presented the findings of this survey to the Department of Health today and was pleased to receive an update on the work underway to better coordinate service delivery and improve patient outcomes through a dedicated action plan. Expanding areas of good practice will no doubt represent a positive step towards ending the current postcode lottery of care and any action to address these persistent issues is to be welcomed.
“However, a piecemeal approach will not solve the underlying causes of the issues that women face and I remain convinced that Northern Ireland should follow every other part of these islands by developing a dedicated Women’s Health Strategy."
You can read the results of the SDLP Women's Health Survey in full here.