With the Women’s Health Strategy turning one this summer, the government is hailing it as a “major boost for women and girls at every stage of their lives”
Some of the highlights include:
* First ever dedicated area for women and girls on NHS website,
including new content on adenomyosis, periods and HRT
* Support for bereaved parents who have experienced pregnancy loss, with
voluntary certificates and work to provide appropriate 24/7 care
* £25 million distributed nationwide to help create women’s health hubs
A year on from its flagship Women’s Health Strategy, the government is today
announcing a significant package of new measures to boost the health and
wellbeing of women and girls. A raft of actions are also being taken to
support women and their families through the unbearable and devastating
impacts of pregnancy loss.
The launch of a new dedicated area on the NHS website will bring
together over 100 topics on women’s health. It will sit alongside a brand
new Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) hub on the site, and will enable women
and girls of all ages to access important information about their health
easily. It will provide information for women on a range of health issues
including periods, gynaecological conditions, fertility, pregnancy, heart
health and cancers.
Acknowledging the work of BBC presenter Naga Munchetty and patient groups to
raise awareness of the condition, the government has also ensured the NHS
website now contains a page specifically on adenomyosis (which causes heavy
or painful periods) – including information about symptoms and the treatment
The brand new hub for HRT has also been launched on the NHS website to help
women manage menopausal symptoms and it will also help those who need it to
easily find information on different types of HRT and decide which medicine
is most suited to them.
Alongside the new website, to further boost women’s and girls’ health and
wellbeing, the government has announced:
* the development of a new AI tool to identify early risks in maternity
units. The government will host an event where clinicians and data
scientists will collaborate to harness the power of AI to analyse vast
amounts of data, helping to identify any concerning trends in maternity
* £25 million will be distributed across England so every area can
create a women’s health hub, with each Integrated Care Board set to receive
£595,000 to meet local women’s health and wellbeing needs.
* greater IVF transparency through an accessible new tool on GOV.UK to
allow people to look up information about NHS-funded IVF treatment in their
* the Women’s Health Ambassador for England, Professor Dame Lesley
Regan, has formed a new network of Women’s Health Champions – made up of
senior leadership in every local care system and co-chaired with NHS England
– who will use their leadership and experience to drive forward wider work
to improve women’s health.
Minister for Women’s Health Maria Caulfield said:
“A year on from the launch of our women’s health strategy, we have much
progress to celebrate. Over 300,000 more women have accessed cheaper HRT;
new women’s health hubs are popping up across the country; and we’re adding
a dedicated women’s health area to the NHS website. But there is plenty more
“Our work continues to support women through the agony of pregnancy loss.
I’d like to thank all the brave and inspiring women who have campaigned
tirelessly for change as well as the review leads Zoe Clark-Coates and
Samantha Collinge, who carried out this really important review.
“We will keep working and investing so girls and women across the country
can benefit from the world-class healthcare they deserve.”
The government has listened to women who have campaigned for greater action
on pregnancy loss and will now go further to help them tackle the
heartbreak, pain and devastation that it can cause.
In response to an important review – carried out by Zoe Clark-Coates MBE
(Founder and CEO of The Mariposa Trust) and Samantha Collinge (Lead
Bereavement Midwife – George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust) – into the care and
support available to women when baby loss occurs before 24 weeks gestation
the government is taking action to support women and their families and to
help them through the trauma of such an experience.
Review leads will continue to work with the government as it implements the
A voluntary Pregnancy Loss Certificate will be available to parents from
Baby Loss Awareness Week (9-15 October) to help parents through their pain
and provide a form of comfort and acknowledgement. Given the importance of
them feeling comfortable and respected over this summer, the certificate
will be tested with 1,000 bereaved families who will be able to advise
government on the application process. Those involved with testing this
summer will be able to receive a certificate themselves.
The government is focused on ensuring that bereaved parents feel able to
navigate the complexities of the healthcare system and will put an emphasis
on supporting them through their grief, recognising their loss,
acknowledging their pain and ensuring they feel heard.
Extensive work will also begin to explore more sensitive processes for women
who experience the tragedy of pregnancy loss in their own home, at weekends
or late in the evening. Finding somewhere to safely and respectfully keep
fetal tissue should not add to an already difficult time.
NHS England will carry out an important review into the current provision of
cold storage facilities at Early Pregnancy Assessment Units and A&E
services. This will help government understand the level of funding needed
to ensure women have 24/7 access to these units, so they aren’t expected to
use their own refrigerators if they don’t want to, but have access to cold
storage and clinical resources – even if it’s a weekend or evening.
Parents, clinicians and relevant design experts will also work together at
speed to create a bespoke holder for storage and safekeeping that can be
used by women and families when such tragic loss occurs. This will ensure
the tissue can be placed and kept in something with due dignity and respect.
The Human Tissue Authority will make any necessary updates to its guidance
on the proper and respectful disposal of pregnancy tissue by March 2024.
Recurring miscarriage and pregnancy loss can also have a devastating impact.
To ensure as few women as possible have to experience this heart-rending
pain more than once, the charity Tommy’s Miscarriage Centre at Birmingham
Women and Children’s Hospital will now launch a three-month pilot exploring
a “graded model” of miscarriage care. Women will receive testing and advice
following a first, second, or third miscarriage, so they can identify any
medical conditions they may have, help prevent further loss, and inform
other women. The government will evaluate the outcomes of the pilot at the
end of this year.
Zoe Clark-Coates MBE BCAh, Founder and CEO The Mariposa Trust, Co-chair The
Pregnancy Loss Review said:
“Over the past 5-years, it has been my honour to co-chair and write the
Pregnancy Loss Review. The 73 recommendations that Sam and I have submitted
within the review offer a real opportunity to revolutionise baby loss care
in England. My passion and long-term commitment is to help all bereaved
families, and by the implementation of these recommendations, I believe we
will make great strides in addressing the disparities in the care, support,
education, and training that currently exist.
“I would like to thank the Minister and government for their swift response,
support, and commitment to action all the recommendations over the short,
medium, and long-term. Change is not going to happen overnight, but I am
reassured that there is the desire and commitment to provide compassionate
care and clinical excellence.
“I look forward to assisting the Health Minister with the implementation of
the recommendations over the coming months and years, and ensuring that the
work of this review, and the spirit of the recommendations are upheld.”
Samantha Collinge, Bereavement Lead Midwife, George Eliot Hospital NHS
Trust, Co-chair The Pregnancy Loss Review said:
“The Pregnancy Loss Review and its recommendations offer a real opportunity
to radically improve the care experience of parents and their families
experiencing baby loss and I feel enormously privileged to have been able to
co-lead this piece of work.
“I would like to pay tribute to the courage of the bereaved parents who so
freely shared with us their often-harrowing stories of loss through their
own desire to see and bring about change.
“Similarly, Zoe and I are indebted to the countless passionate and dedicated
healthcare professionals, organisations and charities who sacrifice their
own psychological wellbeing on a daily basis in working with and striving to
improve care for families experiencing baby loss.
“I look forward to working with the government to drive these
recommendations forward and ensure that that this vital learning from
families and care providers is suitably implemented.”
Professor Dame Lesley Regan, Women’s Health Ambassador said:
“A huge amount has been achieved in the strategy’s first year – from
developing tools, identifying funding, piloting local health hubs,
prioritising information on the NHS website and improving access to HRT –
together we are making a real difference to the lives of so many women.
“This is just the beginning, and every conversation about women’s health is
a step towards closing the gender health gap.
“The enthusiasm of all those involved makes it clear that everyone wants to
get this right for women and girls, and I look forward to continuing to
drive this forward in the coming years.”
Charlotte McArdle, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England, said:
“For too long, too many women’s pain has been misunderstood or downplayed
and the NHS is committed to finding new ways to ensure their health is
“Today, we will launch a new dedicated online health microsite, which brings
all information on the NHS website about women’s health into one place,
making it as easy as possible to access the latest advice.
“New pages about adenomyosis and HRT have also been added to the NHS website
to provide women with information on both issues, and we’ll continue to make
updates to other content in the future to make sure it reflects the latest
guidance from NICE and feedback from patients.
“We will also work with the government to scope the recommendations from the
Pregnancy Loss Review.”
Since the launch of the NHS HRT Prescription Payment
Certificate in April this year, over 300,000 certificates for HRT have already been purchased –
both via the website and in pharmacies. As a result of these new
certificates, it’s been estimated women have saved over c. £9 million in
prescription charges for the year, with the average person saving £30 for a
The government has also invested £53 million into the National Institute for
Health and Care Research programmes to support women’s health, since April
2022 – including research on male violence against women and girls, and a
call for further research into testosterone as a treatment for menopause