As the only patient-led voluntary organisation in Wales dedicated solely to women’s health equality, with an online membership approaching 1200 women living with chronic or recurrent, often invisible health conditions, it is vital that FTWW makes Welsh Government and the public at large aware of the issues facing this specific community during Covid-19.
Throughout this crisis, FTWW has continued to provide its online support services 24/7, via its dedicated forum. This mechanism has enabled our community to share their experiences and discuss those most pressing issues facing them as lockdown continues. Many report feeling that they’re ‘slipping through the net’ and don’t have the support they feel they should have from Government or local authorities
Key Issues to consider:
• Women make up 52% of the population in Wales
• More women than men are living with chronic illness, both physical and mental
• Health conditions affecting women tend to incur a significant diagnostic delay
• Women require more clinical interventions as a consequence of pregnancy and childbirth
• Women, including disabled / ill women, are more likely to be care-givers, single parents, and on low incomes
Our findings show that these issues have considerable significance during the Covid-19 crisis, including:
Women are being disproportionately affected by the cancelling of medical appointments, hospital procedures or operations, and difficulties accessing medication
Women with, as yet, formally undiagnosed health conditions are finding it hard to take advantage of the provisions put in place for those considered ‘vulnerable’, including supermarket or pharmacy deliveries
Pregnant women are at risk of injury and trauma as a result of restricted services
Disabled / ill women are more likely to be on low incomes and find it hard to pay increased utility and food costs
Women are at increased risk of mental health issues as a consequence of ill health in combination with the additional practical and psychological pressures of lockdown.