Women’s Health report highlights cause for concern

One of the most comprehensive reports on women’s health in Bristol has been published by Bristol City Council to help assess their health needs.

Produced in partnership with the Bristol Women’s Commission it shows how different groups of women experience common health issues differently, including mental health and gender-based violence.

The report highlights areas for concern in mental health, including that the female suicide rate in Bristol is higher than the national average.

Of the 1,536 incidences of self-harm at Bristol Royal Infirmary in 2016, 63 per cent were women. The report also showed that, in Bristol, women are more likely to suffer from mental health disorders than men.

Bristol has a lower than average rate of gender violence compared to national statistics. But police data shows rates of domestic abuse in Hartcliffe and Withywood are the highest in the city with 42 per thousand of the population reporting incidents in 2015-16, compared to a national average of 22 per thousand.

The next highest levels were reported in Filwood, with 32 per 1,000 of the population.

In Hartcliffe and Filwood women 12 per cent of the women surveyed also thought domestic violence was a “private matter” – compared to 7 per cent city wide.

Across the city, women are more likely to suffer from obesity, and associated health issues, than men – but this is lower in more affluent areas.

Cllr Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor said: “… This report is one of the first of its kind focusing on issues around women’s health within Bristol. It is an important part of recognising the issues we know are present so that the city can address them.

“This report will form a strong evidence base for our strategy for women’s health. We are developing this alongside Bristol Women’s Commission to show how we are going to tackle some of the many complex issues that are raised by this study.

“However this report should also be seen as a resource that other organisations across the city can use to understand the key health issues faced in their local area.”

Work on the strategy began earlier last year during a women’s health conference that was hosted at City Hall, with organisations around the city coming to share ideas and concerns around the issue.

Penny Gane, Chair of Bristol Women’s Commission said: “This year we are celebrating the centenary of some women getting the vote and women being able to stand for public office.

“One of the suffragettes’ demands was better health care for women. One hundred years later we are drawing attention to women’s health needs in Bristol in this illuminating report and working towards a strategy to address them. Some might say this is long overdue.”

The full report can be read on the council’s website.