England appoints ambassador to shake up women’s health

Posted: June 20th 2022


More research on the lived experience of women in rural, particularly deep rural, settings is merited. Some of the studies I have read have suggested additional challenges linked to the pressures they face exacerbated by their relative distance from services and in some cases relative social isolation. I hope the distinctive rural milieu will inform the approach taken by this new “tsar”.

England's first women's health ambassador is calling for "one-stop shops" where women can sort out their health needs.

Dame Lesley Regan, also a practising doctor, wants to make it easier for women and girls to access care such as contraception and smear tests in the community.

Her new role aims to close the "gender health gap".

She will also support the upcoming government-led women's-health strategy.

One priority for the government is to improve access to hormone-replacement therapy amidst ongoing shortages across the UK.

It recently appointed a HRT Tsar, Madelaine McTernan, to help address this.

Waits for gynaecology appointments are also an issue and have risen by 60% during the pandemic - more sharply than any other specialty.

Dame Lesley told BBC News: "At the moment, we waste a lot of resource in telling girls and women that they cannot have things.

"So you might go off to your doctor or gynaecologist or heart specialist and get told, well, you cannot have a smear here, even if it is due, or you need to go somewhere else for this, that and the other.

"We should make it very, very easy for people to access this out in the community - why do you need to go to a secondary or tertiary facility for things that are very easy to provide?"