Millions of women face health postcode lottery after Government fails to meet deadline

By Staff 5 Min Read

An Freedom of Information request to the NHS found that women with poor pelvic health are left to suffer without specialist support, despite a Government pledge

Women suffering from poor pelvic health are being left in the lurch due to an NHS ‘postcode lottery’, new figures have revealed.

The Government had previously promised to have Specialist Perinatal Pelvic Health Services (PPHS) pilots running across the country by April 2024, but only two-thirds of the Integrated Care Boards in England have commissioned them.

It comes as a third of UK mums suffer from urinary incontinence and 60 per cent of women report at least one symptom of poor pelvic health.

A study by women’s health brand Elvie found that a quarter of UK mums admitted they did not do any pelvic floor exercises in the six months after giving birth. Only 11 per cent of those surveyed adhered to NHS advice to perform daily kegel exercises.

The Women’s Health Strategy, published in December 2021, suggested that all regions of England were set to implement PPHS by March, but only 28 out of 42 pilot sites are currently active, figures from a Freedom of Information request have revealed.

Tania Boler, founder of Elvie, expressed her concern saying: “Poor pelvic health has a serious impact on quality of life, often leading to bladder weakness, reduced sexual pleasure or even prolapse. This FOI data reveals that women are being unfairly caught up in a postcode lottery when it comes to accessing the specialist services they need. That lack of available treatment coupled with a close to non-existent dialogue about pelvic health – both publicly and privately – means that many women are left to suffer in silence.”

The Government’s promised funding does little to mitigate the issue, providing just £18 per woman giving birth in England and Wales each year, reports Nottinghamshire Live. Resolute to instigate change, Boler and fellow activists have penned an open letter to involve policy-makers at Westminster in conversation, and stimulate increased investment in treatment alternatives.

The letter carries the endorsement of various women’s health advocates like the CEOs of women’s health businesses such as Daye, Peanut and Hertility, as well as NHS workers, and sporting personalities – among them Olympic medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill.

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