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Women’s health issues often receive less recognition than issues that affect the entire population. Cultural taboos surrounding menstruation, menopause and reproductive health mean that some women face these issues in silence and with little assistance.
This affects not only their health, but also their economic wellbeing, as they are forced to spend or forgo income to look after themselves.
The NSW Government will provide targeted support for a range of women’s health needs including fertility services, perinatal depression, perimenopause and menopause.
The programs will both provide direct help to women right across New South Wales and raise broader public awareness of women’s health issues to break down social stigmas.
While about 5 per cent of births in Australia involve some form of assisted reproductive treatment, the cost of these treatments is often prohibitively expensive.
This can force families in New South Wales to face the impossible choice between preserving their own financial security and having children.
The NSW Government will invest $80 million over four years to expand and extend the Affordable IVF Program Initiative to support women across the State to access affordable IVF and fertility services, including:
The NSW Government will also fund upgrades of publicly supported IVF clinics and establish a hub-and-spoke model that expands these services to regional New South Wales.
Availability will be expanded in publicly supported affordable IVF clinics.
The program will also continue the first statewide fertility preservation service for younger cancer patients at the Royal Hospital for Women in partnership with the University of NSW.
The NSW Government will also put in place five days of paid fertility treatment leave for the NSW public sector, helping teachers, nurses and other public sector workers to take the time they need to undergo and recover from fertility treatments.
The NSW Government will support upgrades of public IVF clinics and establish hub-and-spoke models that expand these services to regional New South Wales.
There is a chronic lack of social and government support for women experiencing perimenopause and menopause related health issues in New South Wales.
Most women going through menopause experience some symptoms, including hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood disorders or weight gain, while around 20 per cent of women experience more severe or prolonged symptoms.
These symptoms and health risks not only affect women’s health, but also impact their social lives and economic security.
The level of support for women facing challenges related to menopause is low.
Social taboos constrain the discussion of experiences and reduces the likelihood that women will seek and receive the right medical assistance.
There is also a general lack of medical resources provided in New South Wales to support women experiencing menopause.
The NSW Government will invest $40.3 million over four years to establish up to 16 new services, including four hubs for women experiencing severe symptoms of menopause.
The hubs will act as a central source of health expertise to support post-menopausal women, particularly those with bone health issues.
The new hubs and services will support around 5,500 women annually, including virtual consultations to women who cannot attend a service in person.
The new services will provide expert advice and assistance for women managing severe menopausal symptoms, as well as helping to prevent fractures for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease such as stroke, and provide support for weight management and urinary problems that can arise following menopause.
A statewide clinical network will also be established to support the implementation of these services for women experiencing severe symptoms of menopause in New South Wales.
The network will also work with other health providers to improve the capacity of the broader NSW health system to support women going through menopause.
Collaboration and knowledge-sharing with general practitioners, clinicians and other health professionals will help ensure women are able to access appropriate, high-quality care at the widest possible range of locations across the State.
The NSW Government will also launch a comprehensive education campaign across the State to increase awareness and conversation about perimenopause and menopause, its impacts on many women, and health solutions available to help women during this period of their lives.
to establish up to 16 new menopause services
to develop female facilities at community sporting grounds
to not-for-profit organisations to provide postnatal mental health support
Postnatal depression affects about 14 per cent of new mothers in Australia each year and can develop up to one year after the birth of a baby171.
Postnatal depression can affect the ability of women to perform daily tasks and critically affect their psychological and physical health and safety.
Women suffering from postnatal depression can also face social stigma that assumes new mothers ought to experience a positive state of mind following their baby’s birth.
The resulting shame that mothers experiencing postnatal depression feel can prevent them from reaching out for support or sharing their struggles with others.
To support mothers experiencing postnatal depression, the NSW Government will provide $5.2 million to not-for-profit organisations to provide counselling services and educational resources.
This funding will also be used for trusted organisations to provide other wraparound supports to assist new mothers manage postnatal depression, as well as raise public awareness to tackle the social stigma that surrounds postnatal mental health.
Several community sporting grounds across the State continue to lack the right infrastructure needed to properly support women to participate in sport.
A lack of appropriate bathroom facilities not only compromises the comfort of women, but it can also deter women from joining a sports team to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
The NSW Government will invest $25 million to continue to develop female change rooms and toilets at community sporting grounds across the State.
This funding will improve the experience of women that use the grounds for sport and exercise and help more women to take up sport and improve their health.
Funding will also support installing appropriate and safe lighting at these grounds.
Enhancing lighting will help improve safety at these facilities, particularly at night, helping to make sure that no woman feels unsafe while participating in their favourite sport or exercise.
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