The social care workforce is being urged to respond to a call for evidence that will help shape a new Women’s Health Strategy.
This week the Minister for Care, Helen Whately, and Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, Professor Deborah Sturdy, met with women working in social care to discuss the health issues affecting them in the sector.
The roundtable was organised to promote the Women’s Health Strategy’s call for evidence – by encouraging participants to complete the survey which aims to help reduce health inequalities, improve wellbeing and ensure health services are meeting the needs of women.
During the roundtable the Minister heard first-hand experiences of care workers and managers who spoke about their experiences of caring for people during the pandemic. The Government are urging women who are care workers to talk about their own personal experiences of the health and care sector and encouraging all social care workers regardless of gender to feed in about women they have looked after.
Mental health support and help with anxiety were raised as key challenges for the workforce, as well as the physical demands of caring, particularly as staff get older. Participants also raised issues around irregular shift patterns and healthy eating, with many having to buy unhealthier meals for convenience. Shift times during the pandemic and working extra hours meant that going to the shops and trying to get healthy food became a challenge for some women and their families. The Women’s Health Strategy will be guided by the experiences of women from all walks of life, and by sharing their views in the call to evidence they are helping create a health and care system that works for them.
Minister for Care Helen Whately, said, ‘Women make up 80% of the social care workforce and they have an incredibly important viewpoint. Not only do they have their own personal experiences of the health and care system, but they care for many women who have multiple health conditions. Their perspective is second to none.
‘I’d urge everyone working in social care to make their voice heard in our call for evidence, as it is vital we better understand more about women’s experiences in the workplace and in care, ultimately making health and care work better for us all.’
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO, Care England, said, ‘The Women's Health Strategy discussed is a really timely piece, which Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, very much hopes will overturn some of the historical inequities that continue to be played out in the workplace and society. For example, breaking those taboos which are often applied to women's health issues. As we advance, Care England will continue to work with the Minister for Care and the Department of Health and Social Care in their work on this crucial issue.’
Visit the Government website to find out more.
According to a new poll, conducted by the NHS Confederation and Care Women Leaders Network, the physical and mental wellbeing of female health and care staff in England significantly worsened because of working through the COVID-19 pandemic.