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A Pennell report on women's health highlights recommendations for healthcare professionals who advise and support older women. The recommendations include:

that standards and guidelines for procedures, including surgery, commonly required by women aged 45-105+ should be agreed. The guidelines should cross the primary care boundary and be subject to audit;

that training of all healthcare professionals should include information on the relevance of gender and the stereotypes which can affect judgement. Pennell believes this may particularly benefit women in the diagnosis and treatment of coronary heart disease and depression;

that primary care groups and trusts should take a whole population view of the needs of women 45-105+ and work closely with local agencies, employers and voluntary organisations to develop health improvement strategies;

that healthcare professionals who undertake research should consider studies which focus on issues related to women 45-105+ as this segment of the population does not attract the attention warranted by its size and needs.

The Pennell Report on women's health.0800-550 220. Free.