How social workers can help improve the health system’s response to women

As a female-dominated profession, performing mentally and physically demanding roles, the government is seeking social workers' views to help shape its Women's Health Strategy, say the chief social workers for adults

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Lyn Romeo (credit: DHSC)

Fran Leddra

Fran Leddra

By Lyn Romeo and Fran Leddra, chief social workers for adult social care, DHSC


With our long careers in social work, we’ve seen first-hand how every corner of the sector is filled with an incredibly talented and hardworking workforce, who have worked brilliantly in extremely difficult and unique circumstances during the last year to make a difference to the lives of those that need their care and support.

It is important that the heath and care system protects and supports those working as part of it, and this year we have launched a call for evidence to shape the Women’s Health Strategy, which will help reduce health inequalities, improve wellbeing and make sure health services meet the needs of women. With over 80% of the adult social workforce being women we have a brilliant opportunity to make a real difference.

The consultation, which ends on 13 June, encourages all social workers, whether you are a woman or work with women, to make their voice heard and help make sure the health system works for everyone. We need the widest possible range of voices to help us shape the best possible, and a highly informed, strategy.

We know from experience that social work is a difficult, but hugely rewarding job, which provides a range of unique challenges for those of us in the profession.

Maintaining good mental health, as well as coping with the physical demands of the job, particularly as we get older, are important things to consider and the voice of social workers will be invaluable in making sure the strategy improves outcomes for us all.

As well as working with people, their families and communities to support them to live the best possible lives, with fair and equal access to the right care and support, social workers also juggle meeting the needs of their own families, often caring for children, older parents and relatives, as well as trying to look after their own health needs.

Having just returned to work (Lyn) after caring for my elderly mother and supporting her through end of life care, alongside supporting my autistic brother, who has lived with her all his life, I know how essential the support I received from my GP, community nurses, social worker and mental health services was in helping me maintain my physical health and mental wellbeing.

So that’s why the government wants you to share your thoughts and experiences of both working in and using the health and care system. It wants a Women’s Health Strategy that is based on the views and experiences of real women from across the whole spectrum of society, and it’s vital that social workers have their say too.

You can share your views and experiences and contribute to the call to evidence here.

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2 Responses to How social workers can help improve the health system’s response to women

  1. Elaine June 15, 2021 at 7:19 am #

    Too exhausted and demoralised by the lack of care and empathy within social work to contribute. Bullying manager, almost burnt out supervisor, caseload in total disarray because constantly on duty work, no training and reflection discouraged. We do our best to compensate for a social work system that has almost cemented punishment of staff and service users as its bedrock. Too quick with threats to discipline staff, too reliant on legal interventions rather than relationship building with families, our work environments are almost toxic. If our own managers and leaders are not listening to us, why should I think an authoritarian government seeking to privatise the NHS further will take any notice of me?


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