The 2022 update of the women’s health strategy noted that women spend a significantly greater proportion of their lives in ill health or disability when compared with men, that women are under-represented in clinical trials and that not enough focus is placed on female specific issues such as miscarriage and the menopause.

Proposed actions from the report include the following which are relevant to primary care:  

• Reducing waiting times for gynaecology and urogynaecology, which should hopefully prevent recurrent visits to general practice for women who need more than we can offer but are on a long waiting list.
• Establishing the UK Menopause Taskforce to improve support for women, encourage workplace support and consider where further research is needed.
• Address HRT shortages by supporting the supply chain.
• Enhance women’s reproductive wellbeing in the workplace through the Health and Wellbeing Fund which will develop projects to support women who experience reproductive issues.
• Investing money in the Start for Life programme and family hubs, to include perinatal mental health services and breastfeeding support.
• Expanding women’s health hubs around the country.
• Investing in research in women’s health issues.

This toolkit aims to provide those working in primary care with a one-stop resource for all their women’s health educational needs – it will cover all stages of a woman’s life, as illustrated in this infographic from the women’s health strategy. The toolkit will signpost to educational materials and relevant guidelines in women’s health, from a variety of organisations. Those interested in learning more should also visit our women’s health library which is a collaboration between the RCGP, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) . Many of the RCGP eLearning courses referred to in this toolkit can be found on the gynaecology and women’s health hub .

Those affected by the conditions covered in the toolkit are all of the female sex and so the words woman/women and the pronouns she/her are used throughout, however some of our patients will have a gender identity which is different to their biological sex. Where this is the case, the patient’s chosen pronouns should be recorded and respected.

Diagram on women’s health across the life course

Image from the Women’s Health Strategy 2022, used under the Open Government Licence 3.0