UK drops in global women’s healthcare rankings

UK drops in global women's healthcare rankings

A global survey of women’s healthcare suggests that UK women’s health has not improved on average since 2020, putting it behind several other countries.

The Hologic Global Women’s Health Index surveyed 79,000 women in 143 countries on the topic of health and wellbeing. The report includes a league table, ranking women’s healthcare and wellbeing in each country based on the survey answers. The UK was ranked in 37th place globally, dropping from 30th in the previous report. Tim Simpson, general manager at Hologic, suggested the reason for this decrease was improvements in other countries which mean they are ‘leapfrogging’ the UK.

He said: ‘Despite significant potential for progress, the UK is being leapfrogged by other countries, which are making more substantial gains in women’s health. This underscores an urgent need for enhanced focus on topics like preventative measures and pregnancy care, to not only catch up but to set a standard for women’s health globally.’

The 10 highest ranked countries for women’s health were:

  1. Taiwan, Province of China
  2. Kuwait
  3. Austria
  4. Germany
  5. Switzerland
  6. Israel
  7. Japan
  8. Denmark
  9. Poland
  10. Czech Republic.

‘Cause for concern’

Topics covered by the survey include access to preventive care, prevalence of domestic violence and pregnancy and birth experiences. Access to basic necessities such as food and shelter was considered, along with the availability of healthcare generally. Participants were also asked about their health and wellbeing, both mental and physical, and its impact on their daily lives.

The survey found that women in the UK were less likely than those in EU countries to have accessed preventive care in the past year. This might include screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and sexually-transmitted infections. Two thirds of UK women said they were satisfied with their ability to access healthcare, down from three quarters in 2020.

Women’s mental wellbeing also appeared to have declined – in the UK, feelings of sadness had increased each year since 2020. Around two in five women in the UK said they experienced daily worry and stress. UK women were also more likely to report sadness, anger and stress than those living in EU countries.

The report notes that these findings suggest women’s health and wellbeing has not improved since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global index score was the same as in 2020, though certain countries had improved, worsened or stagnated.

Hologic emphasised that higher incomes and healthcare spending per capita do not guarantee higher index scores. Similarly to the UK, the US dropped seven places in the rankings from 23rd to 30th despite being a high-income country.

Stephen Macmillion, CEO of Hologic, said: ‘While the most recent Hologic Global Women’s Health Index survey results give us cause for concern, they also inspire us to redouble our efforts to enable healthier lives everywhere, every day, no matter where women live, how much money they have or their level of education. This is our reason for being and we never lose sight of that purpose. Working together, I am confident that we can do better – by any measure.’

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