To receive a report from the Director of Public Health which provides an update on key women’s health issues and how COVID-19 has impacted.
The Director of Public Health submitted a report that provided an update on key women’s health issues and how COVID-19 has impacted.
The following were in attendance:
- Councillor Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Children, Families and Adult Social Care
- Councillor Salma Arif, Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing
- Cath Roff, Director of Adults and Health
- Victoria Eaton, Director of Public Health
- Kathryn Ingold, Chief Officer / Consultant in Public Health
- Tim Taylor, Head of Public Health
- Hannah Sowerbutts, Health Improvement Principal, LCC
- Louise Cresswell, Health Improvement Principal, LCC
- Liz Wigley, Commissioning Manager, NHS Leeds CCG
- Jeanette Morris-Boam, Project Manager, Women’s Lives Leeds
- Dr Sarah Forbes, GP and Associate Medical Director for NHS Leeds CCG
- Dr Kelly Cohen, Clinical Director of Women’s Services, LTHT
The Executive Members introduced the report, beginning by recognising recent events that had highlighted the need for greater focus on women’s safety and wellbeing. Members were advised that the report includes contributions from a range of health partners, including the third sector, and details health outcomes of women in the city and how their experiences have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for black and minority ethnic groups.
Members discussed a number of matters, including:
· Addressing health inequality through targeted intervention. In response to a query, Health partners provided detail on a range of initiatives and programmes to support disadvantaged groups and to understand the barriers to access to health services – including developing more accessible models for female cancer screening services, which have been replicated across other Primary Care Networks. Reference was made to the award winning Haamla Midwifery Team, who provide enhanced antenatal and postnatal care to women seeking asylum.
· Domestic Violence. In recognition of the increase in domestic abuse nationally and in Leeds as a result of the pandemic, as well as the impact of domestic violence on women’s health and wellbeing, Members requested more information on the steps taken by health partners to support and identify women suffering abuse. Third Sector representatives advised that while there are a number of successful schemes in place currently, many of these are only funded until the end of March 2021. Related to this, Members were advised that there are three women’s refuges, along with a range of other safe housing options, located across the city. Members felt that this matter should remain on the radar of the successor Scrutiny Board and recommended that options are explored in the new municipal year to link in with the ongoing work of the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board surrounding Domestic Violence.
· Endometriosis. Members reflected on the initial request that was made back in 2019 for the Scrutiny Board to look into the support available for women who suffer from Endometriosis. This request had prompted the Board to consider reproductive health more broadly, but also Women’s Health in Leeds generally. While noting that the agenda report had included a brief reference to Endometriosis, it was acknowledged by the Executive Member for Children, Families and Adult Social Care that more work was still needed to raise the profile of this particular condition as well as the need to increase levels of research and support to help those who suffer from it.
· Inequalities in Health Alliance. There was a suggestion from Members that Leeds City Council considers joining other organisations and City Councils in signing up to the Inequalities in Health Alliance.
In conclusion, the Chair welcomed the report and thanked everyone for their positive contributions to the discussion.
RESOLVED – That the contents of the report and appendices, along with Members comments, be noted.