Four out of 10 women believe their health has declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 Jean Hailes National Women’s Health Survey has revealed.
Conducted during March-May, this year’s survey, which attracted more than 14,000 respondents, focused on researching the impact of COVID-19 on women’s health and wellbeing.
The survey revealed a sharp drop in the number of women who rate their health as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ compared to five years ago, and a trend towards more women experiencing health problems, particularly younger women.
Worryingly, results found over 40% of women said their physical and mental health had deteriorated since the pandemic began, regardless if they had contracted COVID-19 or not. The decline in health was highest among 18-25 year-old’s, women with a disability and women from non-English speaking backgrounds.
The survey also highlighted equity problems, with findings revealing that 44% of women cannot afford to see a doctor or other health professional when they need it, while 29% could not access health information in their own language.
Meanwhile, 32% of women said they missed a dental appointment due to the pandemic, 18% missed a health check with a GP, and 8% missed a breast screening appointment.
The COVID-19 pandemic also heavily affected mental health, the survey found, with over 20% of women saying poor mental health stopped them from taking part in everyday activities.
“The results show how hard it has been for women, financially, physically and mentally over the past two years,” Jean Hailes for Women’s Health CEO Janet Michelmore said.
“It also reminds us that our experiences varied, with concerning findings for women with disabilities, who represented over 10% of respondents.”
Read the full report here