Cheif Medical Officer releases Women's Health Report

Monday 14th December 2015

The report examines women's health in England and makes a range of recommendations to improve it. The main focus of the report has been on: obesity and its impact on women's health, inluding reproductive health Women's health in later life, specifically menopause and taboo subjects such as pelvic floor dysfunction and incontinence.

17 recommendations from the Report

  • 1. I recommend that the Government includes obesity in its national risk planning.
  • 2. I recommend that the General Medical Council ensures that medical undergraduate training equips future regulated healthcare professionals to recognise and respond to violence against women, and that other regulators (General Dental Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council) ensure this issue is given due prominence.
  • 3. I recommend that Health Education England e-learning modules (such as the newly developed set for female genital mutilation and those for domestic violence and modern slavery) be: a) developed for sexual violence, ‘honour’-based violence and forced marriages b) freely available to all regulated healthcare professionals via the e-learning for health portal and portals used by other health and social care professionals and that there is continuing professional development credit for doctors in this area.
  • 4. I recommend that Clinical Commissioning Groups and local authorities ensure that integrated specialist health and social care services are in place to meet referrals safely for sexual violence, other domestic violence, female genital mutilation, ‘honour’-based violence, forced marriages and modern slavery.
  • 5. I recommend that acute hospitals, mental health services and GP practices provide information on referral pathways for violence against women at their workplace inductions for healthcare professionals.
  • 6. I recommend that the social science community applies to the Economic and Social Research Council for funding to investigate relevant social issues and how to change attitudes to FGM in diaspora communities in England from countries where female genital mutilation is practised.
  • 7. I recommend that Clinical Commissioning Groups ensure prompt access to evidence-based enhanced cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT-E) and family-based therapy for eating disorders. This should be available in all areas, as in the NICE guidance, and not restricted to specific age groups.
  • 8. I recommend that the Department for Education and Department of Health together make integrated personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) with sex and relationships education (SRE) a routine and, if necessary, statutory part of all children’s education.
  • 9. I recommend that NHS England, Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups in their system leadership role should ensure provision for a full range of contraception services to all women, that is person centric and at all reproductive ages.
  • 10. I recommend that the Royal Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Midwives and Paediatrics and Child Health and the Department of Health, should jointly convene a meeting of stakeholders to determine the optimal data items, assessment tools and linkeage to child outcomes to capture information about women’s mental and physical health before, during and in the years after pregnancy.
  • 11. I recommend that the UK Clinical Research Collaboration works with research funders to review the research needs and spend in the area of pregnancy. Particular research areas highlighted in this report include: a) pre-conception interventions to improve maternal and child mental and physical health b) screening tests, prevention and treatment for preeclampsia, fetal growth restriction and pre-term birth c) optimum models for antenatal and postnatal care.
  • 12. I recommend that NHS England and Clinical Commissioning Groups ensure that all women have prompt access to evidence-based psychological interventions for perinatal mental disorders, a local perinatal mental health service and regional mother and baby inpatient units.
  • 13. I recommend that the Health and Social Care Information Centre modifies the Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Dataset (v.1.0.12) to include pregnancy and the post-partum year.
  • 14. I recommend that the Faculty of Occupational Medicine co-ordinates the production of evidence based guidelines for employers to ensure that they provide appropriate advice and support to women experiencing disabling symptoms while going through the menopause.
  • 15. I recommend that Public Health England convenes a group of stakeholders to consider ways of: a) Raising awareness of urinary and faecal incontinence and prolapse in women, and b) Improving signposting to resources, self-help information and treatment pathways which alleviate these conditions.
  • 16. I recommend that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists ensures that sub-specialist training in gynaecological oncology equips doctors to perform optimal surgery for gynaecological cancers and reduce mortality from ovarian cancer.
  • 17. A national clinical audit should be undertaken of treatment and survival trends for women with ovarian cancer in England. High priority should be given to including this topic in NHS England’s National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership.