Female care workers are being urged to share their experiences of caring for people during the pandemic and discuss health issues affecting them as part of a call for evidence.
Responses to a new survey, launched by the government, is set to shape a new Women’s Health Strategy.
Last week the Minister for Care, Helen Whately, and Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, Professor Deborah Sturdy, met with women working in social care to discuss the health issues affecting them in the sector.
The roundtable event was organised to promote the Women’s Health Strategy’s call for evidence – by encouraging participants to complete the survey which aims to help reduce health inequalities, improve wellbeing and ensure health services are meeting the needs of women.
During the roundtable the Minister heard first-hand experiences of care workers and managers who spoke about their experiences of caring for people during the pandemic.
The government is urging women who are care workers to talk about their own personal experiences of the health and care sector and encouraging all social care workers regardless of gender to feed in about women they have looked after.
Mental health support and help with anxiety were raised as key challenges for the workforce, as well as the physical demands of caring, particularly as staff get older.
Participants also raised issues around irregular shift patterns and healthy eating, with many having to buy unhealthier meals for convenience.
Shift times during the pandemic and working extra hours meant that going to the shops and trying to get healthy food became a challenge for some women and their families.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “Women make up 80% of the social care workforce and they have an incredibly important viewpoint. Not only do they have their own personal experiences of the health and care system but they care for many women who have multiple health conditions. Their perspective is second to none.
“There has already been an incredible response to the call for evidence for our Women’s Health Strategy, with over 50,000 women, organisations, clinicians and carers responding so far and it’s really important we capture the experiences and expertise of the social care workforce.
“I’d urge everyone working in social care to make their voice heard in our call for evidence, as it is vital we better understand more about women’s experiences in the workplace and in care, ultimately making health and care work better for us all.”
Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, Professor Deborah Sturdy said: “Millions of women play a crucial role supporting the health of so many across the NHS and social care every single day, but it’s important that the health and care system also works for them too. It was fantastic to speak to women working in social care to hear their views on how their mental and physical wellbeing can be supported in the workplace, and I want to encourage all women to take part in the call for evidence and help play their part in making sure the healthcare system meets the needs of all women.”