Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Equality, Kathleen Funchion TD, has welcomed the comprehensive review of the Irish healthcare system for marginalised women, undertaken by the National Women’s Council (NWC).
Teachta Funchion said:
“I have always felt that women’s health and the wrap around healthcare services required for women are severely lacking in Ireland. One only needs think of the cervical check scandal to be aware of the importance of this issue.
“This report, which is part of the ‘Radical Listening Exercise’ commissioned by the Government, found that across all demographics, women were not listened to, they voiced frustration at the lack of recognition or not being taken seriously in their healthcare interactions.
“They highlighted the need for Ireland’s healthcare system to move to a more inclusive, women-centred and feminist system that is grounded in the needs of women.
“The significant lack of accessibility was a key issue particularly in relation to translation services, sign language and the availability of accessible, simple information.
“I was particularly pleased to see that undergraduate training was identified as a key area for review; including that priority be given to the introduction of gender-sensitivity training with an emphasis on clinical best-practice, shared decision-making and equipping professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to support meaningful patient input.
“It is vital to improve diversity and representation throughout the health and social care workforce, that women are at the table making the crucial decisions. We must ensure that women from marginalised backgrounds have clear pathways to develop their careers and progress to management level.
“Community-based healthcare also highlighted and as many know, is the lifeblood of communities. It is these services that are the first port of call for many women seeking health supports, domestic abuse services or local support services and networks. Combining this with increasing and improving GPs’ knowledge of local support services to ensure more women can access relevant services within their communities is vital.
“Ensuring all services are provided to disabled women as they would their able-bodied peers is key to creating a service that meets everyone’s needs.
“During the Global 16 Day’s of Action on Gender Based Violence I am pleased to see such a comprehensive review recognising the common universal drivers of marginalisation for women, including poverty, deprivation, racism, gender-based violence, disability, social exclusion, family adversity, and trauma.
”Women have an integral role to play in Ireland’s healthcare system, Government has now been tasked with ensuring that policy begins to be response to the needs of all women.”