Hundreds of thousands of pounds are being invested into three women's health hubs in the North East.

The hubs in Sunderland, Gateshead and North Cumbria hope to enable women to get more of their health needs met at one time.

Studies show that for every £1 spent on women's health health hubs, there are estimated to be £5 worth of benefits to both patients and the NHS itself.

This will mean easier access to care that is tailored to women's needs, including gynaecology, sexual health, menstrual problems, contraception, pelvic pain, menopause care and more.

A £250,000 investment in Gateshead will help to develop one-stop-shop services in GP practices, pharmacies, pop-up sites and community venues, with the aim of making Gateshead a centre of excellence for women's health.

There will be an initial focus on gynaecology, sexual health and breast services, it will bring together care for several issues including menstrual health, bladder and bowel care, HRT, screening services and breast pain.

Trudie Davies, chief executive of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: "This is great news for Gateshead and a fantastic opportunity to share our knowledge, skills and expertise to benefit women and girls.

"Improving women’s health is a collective ambition across Gateshead. This investment is an important step in becoming the Northern Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health.

"By working together, we see this women's health hub as an opportunity to bring partners together to improve access and outcomes for women and girls, using digital support wherever possible."

A further £250,000 will be focused on two health hubs in Sunderland, with the aim of making it easier to access services, and improving women's experience and health outcomes.

A hub in Pallion Health Centre in the west of Sunderland will make it easier to access specialist menopause care – at present, women must either attend hospital or travel outside the area.

A hub at Washington Primary Care Centre will initially offer coil services and then expand to include cervical smears and mental health support.

Dr Saira Malik is women’s health lead for the ICB in Sunderland and a GP in the city. She said: "Women's health is so much more than just reproductive and postnatal health and for too long this has been the sole focus of commissioned services.

"As a region we are committed to delivering a whole life course approach to women's health, taking into account population health needs, but also the impact of health inequalities on those who are most vulnerable in society, including women from ethnic minority groups, homeless people and those living in women's shelters. 

"This investment in Sunderland will go a long way to improving and widening access to a greater range of services for all women and girls in the city.

"We know that women in Sunderland will live on average 24 years in poor health compared to a national average of 19 years and the menopause is a key contributing factor.

Get the latest news, sports, and entertainment delivered straight to your device, for just £6 for 6 months, click here

Most read

Fire destroys pub roof in Sunderland in morning incident

Owners of Cravens store in Northallerton retire after 42 years

Winter arrives as snow spotted in County Durham

"Our aim is to create specialist menopause clinics in the community as well as improve awareness and training for healthcare professionals and for women themselves.  

“We will also focus on improving access to contraception for women and girls, as well as uptake of cervical cancer screening. We know, for example, that some of the most deprived parts of Sunderland have the worst access to Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) and highest rates of teenage pregnancies. They also have some of the lowest uptake of smear tests.

"That is why our women’s health hubs will be focused in parts of the city where we have the biggest gaps in healthy equality."