Friday 16 November 2018 / 12:01 AM Jonathan Ashworth / NHS

Labour vows to end ‘gender pain gap’ as new analysis finds waiting times for breast cancer diagnosis have worsened – Jonathan Ashworth

Labour is today vowing to end the ‘gender pain gap’ which sees women’s health concerns largely dismissed or ignored.

Women and girls have greater health needs in comparison to men across their lifetime, although there are indications that health services are not meeting their specific health needs.

In a speech to the Medical Women’s Federation in London today, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP will address the disparities in women’s health care and the treatment of female staff in the NHS, while also revealing that breast cancer waiting time performance in England has deteriorated.

New analysis undertaken by the House of Commons of Library for Labour finds that:

  • At just 90.3%, performance on the crucial ‘two week wait’ for an initial consultant appointment after an urgent GP referral has already fallen below the 93% target for the first two quarters of 2018/19.
  • For the first half of 2018/19, the number of breaches on the two-week wait has already exceeded the total breaches from the previous year. Comparing this data to the same point last year, the number of breaches has increased by 135%.
  • A postcode lottery for getting appointments in the first six months of the year is emerging.

These figures are being revealed the day after it emerged that 47,000 women in England didn’t receive information regarding their cervical cancer screenings after the NHS failed to send out notification letters.

Jonathan Ashworth MP will today pledge to implement a women’s health strategy in Government as part of Labour’s commitment to tackling health inequalities.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Secretary, will say: 

“This week we have learnt of the appalling situation where 47,000 women missed out on receiving crucial information relating to cervical screening appointments and test results. The shameful truth is too often our health services disproportionately fail women.

“After years of austerity, women’s health inequalities are widening. Whether that’s on breast cancer outcomes where one in ten breast cancer cases are diagnosed late, on common mental health issues which are more likely to affect women than men, cuts to early years maternal health support and restrictions in access to IVF.

“With poor access to treatments and health outcomes many women have rightly complained of the ‘gender pain gap’ – it’s our commitment to end that gap and put in place a women’s health strategy in government as part of our commitment to target health inequalities.”