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Labour vows to end ‘gender pain gap’ of breast cancer waiting times in Cumbria

Labour vows to end ‘gender pain gap’ as it’s revealed that in just six months 438 women in Cumbria and the North East who may have breast cancer have had to wait too long for treatment

Labour is today (Friday) vowing to end the ‘gender pain gap’ which sees women’s health concerns largely dismissed or ignored. A new House of Commons analysis revealed one shocking instance of the gender pain gap in Cumbria and the North East, with 438 women in the region who may have breast cancer having waited too long for treatment in six months this year.

Women and girls have greater health needs in comparison to men across their lifetime, although there are indications that health services are not meeting their specific health needs.

In a speech to the Medical Women’s Federation in London on Friday, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP will address the disparities in women’s health care and the treatment of female staff in the NHS, while also revealing that breast cancer waiting time performance in England has deteriorated.

New analysis undertaken by the House of Commons of Library for Labour finds that:

  • In Cumbria and the North East 438 women have had to wait longer than the crucial ‘two week wait’ for an initial breast cancer consultant appointment after an urgent GP referral.
  • At just 90.3%, performance on the crucial ‘two week wait’ for an initial consultant appointment after an urgent GP referral has already fallen below the 93% target for the first two quarters of 2018/19.
  • For the first half of 2018/19, the number of breaches on the two-week wait has already exceeded the total breaches from the previous year. Comparing this data to the same point last year, the number of breaches has increased by 135%.
  • A postcode lottery for getting appointments in the first six months of the year is emerging.

These figures are being revealed the day after it emerged that 47,000 women in England didn’t receive information regarding their cervical cancer screenings after the NHS failed to send out notification letters.

Jonathan Ashworth MP will today pledge to implement a women’s health strategy in Government as part of Labour’s commitment to tackling health inequalities.

Ruth Alcroft, Labour’s candidate for Carlisle said: “Tory cuts are having an appalling impact on the women of our area and women have always had poorer access to treatment.

“Yet again we’re seeing proof that austerity is hitting us hard, and the cuts aren’t over.

“I want to see an end to that unfairness. The next Labour government will put in place a women’s health strategy – that’s the way to target health inequality.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, will say: “This week we have learnt of the appalling situation where 47,000 women missed out on receiving crucial information relating to cervical screening appointments and test results. The shameful truth is too often our health services disproportionately fail women.

“After years of austerity, women’s health inequalities are widening. Whether that’s on breast cancer outcomes where one in ten breast cancer cases are diagnosed late, on common mental health issues which are more likely to affect women than men, cuts to early years maternal health support and restrictions in access to IVF.”

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