Action is needed to reduce the inequalities faced by women when accessing health services, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said.
In a position statement published earlier today (July 20), the RPS said women’s health issues are often surrounded by stigma, preventing some from openly discussing health conditions, and in some ceases leading to "tolerance of abnormal symptoms, reducing quality of life and possibly resulting in late detection of cancer".
The Society said pharmacists “can help reduce health inequalities for women through a range of public health services” and can play a greater role in supporting people from marginalised or economically deprived communities.
The RPS called for a campaign to improve awareness of “what is normal and what is not,” looking at issues like excessive menstrual bleeding and incontinence, as well as measures including mental health support for women of all ages, involving pharmacists in a “service redesign” of how medicines are used to treat women’s health conditions and making women’s health a part of pharmacists’ undergraduate training.
RPS president Claire Anderson (pictured) said: “Pharmacists can help reduce stigma and improve women’s awareness of what is normal and what is not, covering issues like endometriosis, excessive menstrual bleeding, menopause and incontinence.
“Improved guidance on medication in pregnancy and breastfeeding is needed to ensure pharmacists can provide consistent, evidence-based, reliable information and advice to women across Great Britain.
“We believe women’s health should be covered in undergraduate training for pharmacists, and more research data is needed on how medicines work specifically in women.”