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The Pharmacists’ Defence Association and the National Association of Women Pharmacists stress that community pharmacies have a unique role and opportunity to open conversations with women through their practices and make important and timely interventions to improve women’s health.

The joint call by the PDA and NAWP to “maximise the skills and opportunities that pharmacists have to widen access to healthcare for women resulting in improving health outcomes” came in response to the Department of Health and Social Care’s call for evidence to support the development of a Women’s Health Strategy in England.

The joint response highlights several opportunities which the two organisations believe could help improve health for women and should form part of the government’s future plans.

Key points from the response include stipulations that the workplace needs to be much more responsive to women’s health concerns and that company sickness policies need to be appropriately supportive and effective.

The PDA and NAWP have highlighted the need to consider how employers can meet their business or operational needs whilst addressing their duty of care in relation to their workforce, and maximising health and wellbeing overall in the workplace.

Commenting on the NHS’ role in improving women’s health, the joint statement said: “As a major employer of women in the UK, the NHS has a role to play in the improvement of the health of its workforce and the PDA and NAWP suggest that both health promotion campaigns and education around women’s health should be integrated within the NHS.”

“This would potentially have a sizeable impact both on women employed in the organisation, as well as those that are cared for and treated by its staff,” the statement added.

Naina Chotai, president of NAWP, said, “We welcome the opportunity to feed in evidence around the development of the Women’s Health Strategy and we will continue to highlight the role that pharmacists play across all settings in improving the health of the nation, including women.

“The PDA and NAWP hope that the government takes this opportunity to develop a sustainable and tangible strategy which will improve women’s health across all generations.”

The Women’s Health Strategy also needs to look outside of gender, and seek to address other disparities, such as racial bias in healthcare provision which may have an impact on women of colour.

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