On Wednesday 29th March, Huw Irranca-Davies MS led a powerful and timely debate on endometriosis care in Wales in The Senedd, with contributions from Jenny Rathbone MS, Joyce Watson MS, Jane Dodds MS and Jack Sargeant MS.
Mr Irranca-Davies described how people living with endometriosis in Wales have shared with him their experiences of lengthy diagnosis journeys and difficulties accessing appropriate care, with vast geographical disparities in service provision meaning many patients have to travel across Wales and sometimes over the border into England, in order to access the endometriosis care they need.
Commenting on the importance of speaking out about endometriosis, Mr Irranca-Davies said, ‘This can’t be put into a box of too difficult or inappropriate or too sensitive for men to engage with. It is our families and our friends, our wives and our daughters, nieces and aunts, who need all of us to speak up with one voice.’
The Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan MS, responded to Mr Irranca-Davies’ debate, by saying: ‘During Endometriosis Awareness Month, as well as in following months, our focus is to create a fundamental change in the way that the health service deals with endometriosis and women’s health and to ensure a permanent change for women here in Wales.’
Endometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK, with 1 in 10 women and those assigned female at birth living with the disease. Despite this, in Wales it takes an average of 9 years to receive a diagnosis, according to the All Party Parliamentary Group on endometriosis report from 2020.
Endometriosis UK regularly hears from people living in Wales about the lengthy waiting times for gynaecology services, which is why Mr Irranca-Davies debate was so . The 2022 report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists found that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, gynaecology waiting lists in Wales have increased by 62%. To address this situation, Endometriosis UK is calling for the Welsh government to deliver in full the recommendations of the Endometriosis Task and Finish group report, from 2018. This would include the government taking action to:
- ensure the NICE guidance on endometriosis was implemented in full across Wales
- embed menstrual health education within the education system
- work with healthcare services to identify where capacity needs to be increased and adequately resourced
Endometriosis UK will continue to campaign for change so that everyone with endometriosis receives the right care, at the right time. Keep an eye on our website and social media for updates about our campaigns in Wales and how you can get involved.
You can catch up with the debate at the Senedd here.