Health Minister’s visit to Women's Health Hub
The women’s health minister, Maria Caulfield MP, and Women’s Health Ambassador for England, Professor Dame Lesley Regan, visited the Women’s Health Hub service in Hackney at Elsdale St Surgery over the summer. They came to learn how the pilot service is improving women’s healthcare using a Neighbourhoods model. Homerton Healthcare, Hackney Marshes and Well Street Common Neighbourhoods have worked together on this pilot service, which started in 2021 with support and funding from the City and Hackney Neighbourhoods Programme. The pilot was highlighted earlier this year as part of the Government’s announcement of new support for Women’s Health Hubs, which aim to improve access to women’s health services.
The hub model focuses on delivering services in the community that better fit around women’s lives and streamline access to women’s health services. They aim to address fragmentation in provision, for example by providing management of contraception and heavy bleeding in one visit. The service includes face-to-face specialist clinics based in GP practices as Neighbourhood hubs, which bring care closer to home and reduce pressures on hospital-based care. So far, the pilot has reached over 2,000 women through its innovative programme of virtual events and groups on menopause, periods, fertility and contraception. The service also includes increased primary care education and other community engagement.
As it develops, the pilot is identifying specific inequalities in care and outcomes in women’s health, including at the Neighbourhood level, and engaging with City and Hackney’s communities to address these. The City and Hackney Neighbourhoods Programme is supporting a project investigating inequalities in menstrual health and trialling approaches to address these for women from diverse backgrounds through an antiracist framework. Dr Darren Sharpe from University of East London is supporting this project and others, to consider and embed antiracist service design and practices. The Women’s Health Hub is also working with residents to set up a community led Menopause Café. The roll-out of the service across City & Hackney has recently been approved, so more Neighbourhood-based clinics and activity are planned over the next year.