UK Policy Briefings
2018 WBG Briefing: Health and Gender
Date Posted: Monday 15th October 2018
Ahead of the 2018 Autumn Budget, we’ve put together a briefing on the impact of changes in health policy on women.
- Over the last decade health services have seen some of the lowest spending increases in their history. In June 2018, the government announced an additional £20bn in real terms for the NHS in England in the five years to 2023/24.
- While the amounts proposed in June are significantly higher than funding increases over the past eight years, this is still below the historical 3.7% average annual rise that the NHS has seen since 1948 and below the 4% annual increase that the Kings Fund and others have argued is required to improve services after years of underfunding.
- As a result, health services remain severely strained and women – as the majority of patients, staff and unpaid carers – have borne the brunt of these impacts. This has had a number of profound effects, including on life expectancy. Recent data shows that more older people, particularly older women, are dying than expected given historical trends.
- Women account for 77% of the total NHS workforce. Between 2010 and 2018, NHS staff were under a 1% public sector pay cap that led to a decline in real wages of around 14%. In 2017, for the first time on record, more nurses were leaving than joining the profession, with the resultant shortfall impacting on patient care and outcomes. A new pay deal for “Agenda for Change” staff announced in March 2018 has yet to translate into the expected pay rises for some staff.