Heart and Stroke Inquiry
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health has launched an inquiry into treatment and outcome disparities for women suffering from heart attack and stroke. The group would like to hear from patients about their own experience of living with each condition and accessing treatment, as well as clinicians who treat these conditions.
The WHAPPG would like to shine a particular light on stroke and heart care because the group feel that, typically, these two conditions are associated with men, and therefore female patients may not be given the treatment they need.
The APPG Inquiry aims to gather evidence around the issue of poorer rates of diagnosis and levels of treatment for women with common conditions such as myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke, and to provide recommendations as part of a Call to Action. The WHAPPG will lobby on recommendations in this Call for Action, with the aim of improving care for women suffering with heart attack and stroke.
Oral Evidence Session
The group held an oral evidence session on Monday 16th July 2018, in Parliament where they heard from the British Heart Foundation and Stroke Assoication, as well as representatives from RCGP and RCN about treatment options, outcomes and awareness around these conditions. This session will help the WHAPPG to understand what key recommendations the group can take forwards.
Moving forward, the group will invite submissions of written evidence on this topic and a patient survey responses. The findings will be published in Call for Action.
The group accepted Written Evidence through an inquiry survey which closed on the 10th December, 2018.
The second report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health (WHAPPG) was launched on Thursday, 18th July 2019 and highlights that despite being two of the most common conditions women experience, stroke and heart attack remain under researched, under diagnosed and under treated in women.
1) Awareness campaign:
General awareness campaign focusing on symptoms and information for women regarding heart symptoms and stroke
Targeting of certain communities, such as BAME, which can be more difficult to reach. We need to look at further understanding of culture and other factors to take advantage of opportunities around healthcare and education.
Public-place targeting e.g. GP surgery leaflets, hairdressers, coffee shops
Aimed at women and their symptoms, and highlighting that these conditions are not ‘men’s conditions’
Awareness around female-specific stroke risk factors needs further work.
General public – it is important to educate the general public about the atypical symptoms that women often present with when experiencing heart attack, and the need to seek early treatment for heart attack and stroke.
Clinicians – it is vital to work with clinicians and educate them around the symptoms women sometimes experience, to ensure that they do not rule out heart attack or stroke too quickly.
There is a need to start a conversation around female-specific stroke risk factors.
3) Promote effective investigation of women’s symptoms and promote diagnostic techniques that could help in this regard.
4) More data/research - only with more research can we hope to better understand how to best treat heart attacks and stroke in women. We need much better post-acute data to be able to fully investigate women’s treatment, experiences and outcomes compared to men.