Women are too busy for health checks – Women’s Health 2020

Women are too busy for health checks – Women’s Health 2020

Australian women are busier than before COVID, coping with additional challenges including working from home, home schooling and not having enough time to attend medical appointments for health checks.

Jean Hailes have just launched Australia’s largest  women’s health research which includes responses from over 9000 women about their health needs and behaviours over the past year.

Over 31% of women aged 25-44 said they did not have enough time to attend appointments for health checks and one in three reported that their health was worse than before COVID and a similar number reported feeling anxious. Women aged 18-44 were the most likely to find healthcare unaffordable or difficult to access. Access or the availability of healthcare was the biggest issue for women living in rural and remote areas. Other areas affecting women’s health includes loneliness, physical and mental health, reproductive and maternal health, intimate partner violence and the impact of COVID-19 and bushfires.

Affordability of healthcare was an issue for many where one third of women with a disability said they could not afford healthcare. This was true for LGBTIQ women with 24% reporting greater difficulty in affording healthcare compared to non-LGBTIQ women. They were also twice more likely to experience discrimination in accessing healthcare than non-LGBTIQ women. Generally, women reported experiencing discrimination in accessing healthcare (one in six) with the highest proportion reported in women aged 25-44. 

The survey was launched on the 8th December 2020 by the Federal Health Minister, the Hon Greg Hunt, who said the sobering and powerful findings although not a surprise will inform Government of our next steps for women’s health to 2030.

Across all age groups, the preferred ways of receiving information were via website (67.7%), face-to-face (67.7%) and fact sheets (57.5%). The top 3 topics that women wanted more information about were anxiety, weight management and healthy eating. Social media, videos and apps were preferred over booklets in women aged 18-24, while women aged 65+ preferred face-to-face education.

“It is a telling snapshot of what is happening with women’s health and wellbeing across Australia”, said Jean Hailes CEO, Janet Michelmore AO. She also said, “we now want women to take time for themselves-take time for their health”.