7 Our approach
This Plan has been developed through a collaborative process involving a wide range of people with expertise in various aspects of women's health.
We have also considered a number of recent publications, reports and articles focusing on women's health, describing and discussing women's experience of healthcare services in terms of accessing information and services, diagnosis and treatment. Some of these are listed in Annex E.
To ensure women's voices and experiences are central to the Plan, we have heard directly from a diverse range of women through our Lived Experience Survey and discussion events, led and facilitated by the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (The ALLIANCE).
The ALLIANCE, as a national third sector strategic intermediary, has strong expertise in engaging people with lived experience in policy and practice development across health and social care in Scotland.
The ALLIANCE believe an equalities, intersectional, rights-based and person-centred approach is necessary to understand the challenges faced by women in Scotland to ensure policy, interventions and services reflect the needs of individuals and their families.
7.1 Women's Health Group
A Women's Health Group (WHG) was established to develop this Plan. The Group included organisations and individuals with specialist knowledge, expertise and experience in women's health. A full list of members is at Annex A.
The WHG was established to:
- provide a focal point for discussion, leadership and direction to focus policy development and quality improvements on the needs of all women across Scotland;
- link strategically with other developments and policy areas across the Scottish Government to ensure women's health and wellbeing is considered in all policy output by the Scottish Government;
- identify gaps in the provision of services, consider existing areas of best practice and develop actions to address these gaps; and to
- support NHS Boards, Local Authorities, partner agencies and professional organisations to work collaboratively to ensure services best meet women's health needs.
In addition to the WHG, five sub-groups were established to develop actions for this Plan.
1. Sexual health, contraception, abortion, pre-pregnancy care
2. Menopause and menstrual health, including endometriosis
3. Heart health
4. Gender and health
5. Lived experience
These sub-groups brought together experts from a range of specialties, in the public and third sectors, who work on women's health related issues. The sub-groups worked to identify gaps in the provision of services, consider areas of best practice, and develop practical actions to address these gaps. These actions are presented in section 9.
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