Budget 2019 and the Women’s Health Action Plan

 

Sir, – The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) welcomes the announcement in Budget 2019 by Minister for Health Simon Harris that funding will be made available for the development of a Women’s Health Action Plan in 2019. The action plan is essential in the renewed drive to improve women’s experience of healthcare in Ireland.

Women’s health is about all health issues that affect women.

We are committed to ensuring the plan addresses the full range of health issues for women, from chronic diseases to mental health to violence against women.

The plan must also prioritise the women most likely to experience health inequalities, including women from deprived areas, Traveller women, homeless women and women living in direct provision.

We hope that this funding represents a turning point for women’s health in Ireland. The last decade saw the hollowing out of the structures for women’s health, from the dissolution of the Department of Health’s Women’s Health Council, to the disappearance of the network of women’s health officers in the HSE.

This gap was called out in the Scally report into CervicalCheck, which recommended giving “consistent, expert and committed attention within the health system” to women’s health.

This funding – combined with future year-on-year funding for implementation – is essential to accelerate the initial work the NWCI has undertaken with the Department of Health and the HSE to develop the Women’s Health Action Plan.

With funding now secured we can work to engage with women across the country to ensure the Women’s Health Action Plan meets their needs. – Yours, etc,

ORLA O’CONNOR,

Director,

National Women’s

Council of Ireland

North King Street,

Smithfield, Dublin 7.