We don’t deserve 34 years of ill health.

Women’s Health matters.

Liverpool and Merseyside need a Women’s hospital, focussing on improving the lifetime health of women from the womb to the grave. We need a health service that recognizes the needs of women. We must improve the lives and health of women in this city. A well funded hospital with a committment to the health of women could lead the way for other hospitals. This hospital could link up others with the aim of improving women’s health across the nation. Women spend more of their life in ill health than men do.

This is not, in any way, acting against men

As we come marching, marching, we battle too, for men,
For they are women’s children and we mother them again
Our days shall not be sweated from birth until life closes, 
Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread, but give us rose

 It doesn’t have to be this way.

Women tend to look after their health more than men do, so the difference is not from risk taking or deliberately unhealthy lives, even if some do take risks. Though women live longer than men do, they live in worse health for more of their lives. Women from poorer areas, like Liverpool, endure 34 years more ill health (You would get less for murder!) than women from more affluent areas. Women from poorer areas have shorter lives, with more illness and this is getting worse. Within Liverpool, life expectancy is 10.2 years lower for men and 8.3 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Liverpool than in the least deprived areas of the city. That’s just within the city. The differences with wealthy areas of the country is even greater

 ‘The gap in life expectancy between women living in the most and least deprived areas has also widened, falling for women in the most deprived areas and continuing to rise for those in the least deprived areas.”  Professor Danny Dorling

It does not have to be this way, This is a long term Governmental choice to make the poor pay for their policies. Even the UN has described it with horror Each person who speaks out against this impoverishment begins to turn this terrible tide.

In 2015 a World Health Organisation Report showed that Life Expectancy of women in the UK was is the second lowest in western Europe. The UK is ranked 14 out of 15 nations; we need a focus on women’s health.

Healthcare is just one way we can help women’s health. We have also to fight low pay ( especially for mothers ) poverty, expensive and poor quality childcare. bad housing, pollution, stress and abuse. But in this storm what we have, we hold; we will not surrender the benefits earlier genserations have won for us.

There are many aspects of health treatment that are specific to women.

Teenagers still have major problems with periods and acne, some very serious problems. No contraception is perfect and some have side effects.

Mesh, breast implants have been the source of many scandals caused by profit seeking at the expense of women’s health.

Mental health is a major health issue for women. The same numbers of women and men experience mental health problems overall, but some problems are more common in women than men, and vice versa. Twice the percentage of women in work suffer (or admit to) mental health issues than men do. Some mental health issues are related to hormones and reproduction, some to poverty

Endometriosis1.5 million women suffer from endometriosis but it takes 7 years on average to get a diagnosis. That’s one in ten women in debilitating pain.

Heart disease is a major killer of women, more so even than the horrible breast cancer that ends the lives of so many of our sisters.

Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke are all diseases with distinct female issues.

We need research and focussed treatment. We need the research done at Liverpool Women’s hospital to be expanded. This hospital would give a great case for significant increases in investemnt if we can win the battle to get a government that respects its people.

We are in a politically driven storm of cuts, privatisation and destruction in the NHS. Full details can be found here. Having established the Internal market the privateers have now decided to privatise the service at the regional level. To garner the greatest profits for the large companies operating at this large scale, the NHS are bringing some services back in-house, so it will be more profitable from the very big US health care companies.

We are short of beds, short of doctors, nurses, midwives, and the myriad of professionals working in the NHS and the devoted ancillary staff. Poverty wages makes women ill, yet outsourced companies pay these wages to women and men who work in the NHS. Let’s hope the ancillary workers keep on fighting for better pay and conditions. They will have healthier lives and use the NHS less.

What we have we hold!

We must defend Liverpool Women’s Hospital and fight for more, much more investment in health. This is the sixth richest country on planet earth. There is wealth aplenty to fund the NHS.

What causes this extended ill health in women?

Poverty plays a part. Drug research based on men not women plays a part, the level of importance given to women’s health and unthinking sexism, also play a part. So do the physical facts of women’s hormones and of childbearing capacity, whether or not we have children.

We have specialist hospitals for many conditions; a hospital for women is deeply needed.

For all our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and lovers, we need a women’s hospital!

It’s for the babies too!

For each and  every one of our precious babies, we need an excellent world-class maternity hospital  In Liverpool. We must defend what we have and insist on improving it.

Liverpool’s infant mortality rate is at its highest level since 2010. ”Some 5.2 infants died per 1,000 live births between 2014 and 2016, significantly higher than the national average of 3.9 deaths per 1,000 births.”

IMR ( Infant Mortality Rate ) is used internationally as an indicator of the comparative wellbeing of nations. It is sensitive both to the socio-economic conditions affecting women of childbearing age and children; and the quality and accessibility of services for families. IMR continues to improve in most rich countries, with recent data showing that in countries such as Japan and Finland the IMR has dipped to only 2 per thousand.(3) In Liverpool, where some of us work, the infant mortality rate is now an unacceptable 6.8 – more than twice as high as London’s average.

In 2017 1 in every 225 births ended in a stillbirth. For every 1,000 babies born, 4.2 were stillborn, according to the Charity Tommy. Other babies die shortly after birth and still more have significant birth injuries.

 …mortality for the poorest infants in the UK is rising ( getting worse) every year since 2011. This is despite mortality continuing to improve in all other European countries, which often still benefit from very rapid improvements in health no longer seen in the UK.  The most recent rise in premature deaths is now leading to a situation where overall life expectancy could begin to fall for all groups. It is already falling in the poorest areas and for the poorest groups.

The Nuffield trust says “The UK has made less progress in reducing stillbirths and neonatal and infant deaths over the last two decades than many other developed countries”.

Sadly Liverpool Women’s Hospital has made saving on maternity this year despite this death rate “Maternity activity has reduced as anticipated and is expected to have deliveries in the region of 8,200 (2017/18 8,600). The service has reduced costs in terms of pay and non-pay and has also reviewed service income and costs as part of the “right size project” .

Is this the response we want to the news of increased deaths of babies? Surely the extra capacity could support women after birth far more effectively than they are supported now.

The NHS is not a democracy, nor is it socially or communally responsible. The NHS answers to Simon Stephens and to the requirements of their grand plans and privatisation. But camapigning does make some difference.

The big companies involved in the NHS have more and more say. Their purpose is profit.

The future of the  Liverpool Women’s Hospital is still unclear.Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital  campaigns for a fully funded NHS and for Liverpool Women’s Hospital to be upgraded on the Crown Street site.

The current management still favours a move that would cost at least £100 million. The April Board meeting said they were going to hold a clinical summit on this issue this summer. We call for a community summit too. The wishes of more than 50,000 petitioners cannot be ignored.

Liverpool Women’s hospital is inadequately funded by the NHS, as are many hospitals. Aintree, for example has major financial problems. There are underlying additional problems at Liverpool Women’s.

  1. The maternity tariff is still inadequate.
  2. The funding does not reflect the very specialist work that the hospital does. Birmingham CCG does recognize this for their women’s hospital, but not Liverpool.
  3. The NHS insurance system is difficult for all obstetric providers but Liverpool has a historic (and disgraceful) case, significantly inflating premiums.
  4. Most of these problems stem not just from inadequate funding, real though that is, but from the “Internal market” imposed on the NHS by wave 2 privatization.

The Liverpool Women’s Hospital makes decisions within the policies of the  Merseyside and Cheshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). This plan describes extreme reductions in spending.

It is our understanding that the budget of Liverpool Women’s Hospital is kept in balance by a subsidy from Transformation funding,“The control total now assumes receipt of £6.8m Provider Sustainability Funding (PSF) (including a £3.2m of bonus and incentive).which is dependent on the plan to move. Somehow we are meant to believe that the move will save money.

LWH also has to cope with damaging decisions like the withdrawal of bursaries from midwives and nurses training, and an inadequate number of training places for doctors in the whole country. Staff are consequently overworked and underpaid.

Women in the UK as elsewhere have a right to a long healthy life. But we are going to have to fight for it.

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