Why a Women’s Hospital?
Why do we want a women’s hospital?
We need a Women’s Hospital. Ours is one of only two in the country; it is not perfect but it is much needed. There are important medical and surgical differences between men and women. We have different life events, different illnesses, some different cancers, different symptoms for heart attacks, and we respond differently to some medicines. Women live longer than men, but have more illness in later life. Women’s role in reproduction means that we are subject to different physical and mental illnesses than men.
Women and children bear the brunt of poverty and ‘austerity’.
Every other field of medicine has specialist hospitals – in fact, the current ‘fashion’ is for specialist hospitals. Each of the Liverpool Hospitals is specialising, so why can we not keep our Women’s Hospital? Just as the other hospitals send women to LWH, LWH will need to liaise with other hospitals. We need integrated care. We need the focus and research a specialist hospital produces; research which is then fed back into all hospitals. The care of women is a valid sphere of medicine and surgery.
For matters that are specific and personal to women, we need to feel safe and respected. The over sexualisation of bodies, especially breasts, and the evident disrespect for breast feeding women, makes women uncomfortable, which then undermines the health of the infant.
Even naming body parts is still awkward for many women.
Violence against women means that one in four women have experienced male. violence. The nature of the women’s hospital makes women not only feel safer but to actually be safer from male aggression.
Pregnancy is one of the known danger points for male domestic violence.
Giving birth or having gynaecological procedures can trigger trauma beyond the physical.
Safeguarding vulnerable women, let alone babies, in a big city centre acute hospital will be very difficult.
A 15-year-old pregnant girl might walk into the Liverpool Women’s with confidence; Would she feel the same walking into a giant acute hospital?
Fertility issues, pregnancy, birth, post-natal experience and motherhood can all impact on women’s mental health.
A safe place to recover and to ask for help is essential. Relationships built up with midwives, health visitors, doctors and nurses are essential for our physical and mental health and recovery from stressful and traumatic events.
If patients are not confident in the staff and in the environment in which they are being treated, this will affect the outcomes of their treatment.
Care, respect and kindness are great healers. They provide the environment in which good medicine and surgery can thrive.
Beauty and nurture are needed by all creatures; but in our warped society they are predominantly seen as ‘women’s’ virtues and often disrespected.
Most carers, but not all, are women. Women, who have been carers for all their adult lives, clearly respond with recognition and relief when they, as older patients, come into the Women’s Hospital. This culture could be extended from the Women’s to other hospitals, but we need this hospital as the seed bed. We want ‘bread and roses too’.
A women’s space is rare. A well-funded, well-staffed and well cared for women’s space is rarer still. We have such a space, to some extent, in the Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
Women and babies matter. In this time of Austerity, human rights and life are being discarded and ignored.
For all the women, all the mothers, all the babies, and all the men who love them, we demand that Liverpool Women’s Hospital is saved.
The future of the hospital as a whole is also important for the men who are treated at Liverpool Women’s Hospital in genetics, for some cancers, and for transgender issues.
This is a women’s issue for staff too. The women’s hospital employs many female professionals and ancillary workers. (We are grateful too for the work of many males in the hospital). The problems facing women are also faced by the staff. The hospital needs to recruit and retain more staff. We know the new Junior Doctors’ contract is discriminatory against women.