I established the Women's Health Taskforce in the Department of Health to improve health outcomes and experiences of healthcare for women. The Taskforce has been established for a two year period and is meeting regularly, there have been three full meetings to date in September, October and December.
The Taskforce is at an early stage of its work and is considering the full range of issues affecting women’s health in Ireland. The Taskforce will tackle a wide range of issues impacting women’s health outcomes in Ireland and will work on these on a phased, prioritised basis. Priorities will be decided by the Taskforce in consultation with stakeholders including the public.
Early public feedback has raised a number of issues of importance to women, including ‘the need to feel heard’ and Taskforce members are committed to keeping women’s voices at the centre of their work.
The first action of the Taskforce is to lead a 'radical listening' exercise inviting women in Ireland to share their experiences of and solutions for the health system. This will commence in early 2020 and all women will be encouraged to provide their perspectives. This process will also target a number of different groups with unique perspectives. I intend that women who were adopted will be included in this process and I hope they take the opportunity to participate.
There will be multiple additional opportunities for anyone interested to feed into the work of the Taskforce and I would encourage them to do so. The work of the Taskforce, as well as opportunities to engage, can be tracked on the Taskforce's webpage.
Information and data gathered through engagement with stakeholders, combined with the other available evidence will form the basis for future policy and action to improve women's health in Ireland.