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Professor Peter Brocklehurst responds to the Women’s Health Strategy

The Chair of the Birmingham Health Partners Commission which led the Healthy Mum, Healthy Baby, Healthy Future report has welcomed the first ever Women’s Health Strategy for England to tackle the gender health gap.

The commission set out a raft of recommendations for the UK to lead the development of safe, effective and accessible medicines for use in pregnancy. The key ambitions in the Women’s Health Strategy which are aligned to the recommendations from the Healthy Mum, Healthy Baby, Healthy Future report include:

      • Boosting participation of pregnant women in clinical research, particularly clinical trials, key components to improving maternal health outcomes for women and their babies
      • A greater use of routine health data to improve outcomes for pregnant women
      • Improving the safety of medicines in pregnancy to ensure women have access to high quality and updated information about medicines that they may need to take during pregnancy

Commenting on the Women’s Health Strategy, Professor Peter Brocklehurst, Professor of Women’s Health and Director of Research and Development for the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit (BCTU), said:

“I am really pleased to see that women’s health is being given the prominence it needs and I find the plans outlined in the Women’s Health Strategy encouraging. It is vital that women are treated as equal partners in the delivery of their care and that they have the option to be included in research and clinical trials that affect them. Over 50% of respondents to the initial call for evidence felt that pregnancy should be included in the strategy, providing a clear message that healthy pregnancies are a health priority for women, their families and society.

“The focus on the importance of research to continue to improve health is also very encouraging, however, there is little mention of the research needed to ensure that new therapies, particularly safe and effective medicines, are developed for many of the women’s health problems highlighted in the report. Investment in discovery science and the need for close collaboration with other groups, particularly the pharmaceutical industry, is essential if we are to continue to improve health outcomes for women.  I look forward to building on these plans with colleagues in Government and across sectors to reduce the gender health gap, place women’s voices at the heart of research, increase participation in research and ultimately improve maternal health outcomes for women and future generations.”

Baroness Thornton – the Shadow Women and Equalities Minister, recently spoke about the Healthy Mum, Healthy Baby, Healthy Future report during her statement to the House of Lords on the Women’s Health Strategy. The full debate can be watched here. (Baroness Thornton’s speech starts at 16:07:05 and is answered by Baroness Penn at 16:23:45, she ends her point on the report at 16:25:15).