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WHISC Women’s Health Information and Support Centre

SDS Consultation 2021 – Conducted by Kelly Teeboon

  1. Participants
  2. Questions and Policy Feedback
  3. Conclusion

Introduction

Women’s Health Information & Support Centre (WHISC) has collaborated with Liverpool City Region to collect the feedback and views of our service users about their city. Liverpool City Region wanted to hear from our women what was important to them when it comes to the development of the city. We asked our service users how they felt about their city, what was important to them and what they thought of Liverpool City Region’s policy proposals going forward.

Background

WHISC has been supporting women across the region for over 35 years, providing a large number of support for the most marginalied women across Merseyside. Over the years, we have seen a huge increase in demands for mental health services, which has now, became our primary focus. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a 64% increase in need for mental health support and have continued to support women across the city. We have made many adaptations to our service over the last 12 months to assure we are meeting government guidance and still being able to support the community across Merseyside.

Participants

Graph 1: This graph shows that out of 100 participants the vast majority of respondents were between the ages of 25-34

Graph 2: This graph shows that out of 100 participants the vast majority live within the L1 area of Liverpool, followed by L9 and L10

Graph 3: This graph shows that out of 100 participants, the vast majority describe themselves as being part of the BAMER community.

Graph 4: This graph shows that out of 100 participants, the vast majority would consider themselves to be living some a disability

Questions and Policy Feedback

Graph 5: This graph shows that for the majority of our respondents addressing health inequality was a key issue for them and their family.

We asked our service users why they believed that this was the most important issue to them and their family. Here is some of the answers given:

“Health is the most important thing; it sets us up for our future”

“It is important that we have a city that works for everyone that lives here. Access to healthcare is a basic human right”

“A healthy body is the foundation for everything. I have a 9 year old son and I want him to see that all people are treated equally”

“It feels as though health inequality is a huge issue within our city and not enough is being done to address it”

“The health of our city is important for longevity and being inclusive to everyone is helping the community to flourish”

“I see there’s a massive amount of poverty in the area and this isn’t helped by student housing taking over the area. It out prices families from the market and leads to houses being carved up to be HMOs leading to cramped living situations and tenants being exploited”

We asked our respondents to use a word to describe how they understood the term ‘health inequality’.

“I believe there needs to be an effort to create more understanding amongst the public; the buildings within the city also need to become more accessible for those with physical disabilities”

“This is helpful but there needs to make sure there is something in practise to assure it actually happens”

“This information is only relevant to the applicant. People in Liverpool don’t pay much attention to this information unless it impacts them directly – so it is a waste of money & resources to request it & unhelpful to the applicant”

“It is good to consider at the early stages. I think if left it becomes more of an issue further down the line or nothing can be done about it”

“It means that people’s wellbeing are being thought of at the same time as the planning not just usual things like the environment”

“You need to consider the impact things may have on everyone directly affected by the developments”

“People who are living in these areas hopefully would be able to have an input as to what is need in their areas, e.g. housing that face each other so people can see their neighbours front doors to help build relationships, local shops, GPs, NHS Dentist, youth clubs, child care services, care homes all these amenities help build and keep a community together”

“Encourage fast food healthy shops, if you go into some better off areas in the city they have lovely cafes etc., sitting outside areas. The food is more expensive as people can afford it. However, healthy cafes etc. could be subsidised to encourage poorer families to eat out. Fast food is cheaper so it becomes a better option. We have lost small fresh shops to the big supermarkets and that has led to posher areas still having access to butchers/delis, green grocers. While poorer areas have to rely on the cheaper supermarkets”

We asked some of our service users to send us an image of something they liked about the area they lived and something they did not like:

I like how our city tells a story of the history, but I do not like the rubbish left around the city

I like that our city is diverse and has a wide range of people from different cultures. I dislike the pot holes in the road; it ruins cars, creates flooding and makes it difficult for wheel chair users to get about”

Conclusion

As well as the policies you have seen, what else needs to be done?

“Achieving equality for all”

“Advertising public service activities”

“Increase environmental budget”

“I believe there needs to be education around how to cook well on a budget, and to aid access to healthier, convenient food”

“There needs to be more done to tackle food poverty and education around cooking on a budget”

“People need hot meals education is vital to support health inequalities and bring back community development workers within the city which have been reduced year in year out since 2010”

“Reduce traffic delays and hold ups so that cars are moving rather than stuck in traffic with engines running getting nowhere at endless red lights and complicated junctions”

“Health checks for homeless people”

“Universal basic income and more easily accessible services and better online access”

Conclusion

Tackling Health Inequality was one of the number one issues for the women that we asked. Many of the women felt as though discrimination played an important factor in why we are yet to reach health equality. Many of the women felt as though equal access to healthcare was compounded by their gender, and many believed systematic racism to play a part in this.

The outdoor environment, healthy eating and education were the key themes raised throughout this research. This themes offer the key suggestions our participants felt most important to addressing issues, as well as the policies presented to them.

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