Gynaecology waiting times soar – time for action to end the suffering
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has published a report on gynaecology waiting times, which reveals that waiting times across the UK have soared by 60%, the biggest increase of any service. This leaves over half a million women waiting for gynaecology treatment including many with endometriosis. The report also found significant geographic inequalities resulting in longer waits in some parts of the country.
The report includes the findings of a survey of women on gynaecology waiting lists which includes:
- 80% reporting worsening mental health
- 77% saying long wait has had a negative impact on their ability to work and undertake social activities
- 63% felt ignored
Endometriosis UK regularly hears from those with endometriosis who are not able to access the care and treatment they need including surgery, or get a diagnosis, due to long waiting times. Some may have debilitating symptoms and chronic pain while they wait. Those who had surgery or other appointments cancelled are in some cases still waiting for a new date, while others are given a new date several months ahead and do not always get the support they need to manage symptoms while they wait. The negative impact of this on their daily life, physical and mental health can be massive.
Endometriosis UK backs the Royal College in calling for:
- overhaul of the way the NHS prioritises treatment to address not only clinical need but also wider impacts such as quality of life and fertility
- recognition of the unequal growth in gynaecology waiting lists compared to other specialities and action to tackle this including any arising geographic inequalities
- a shift away from referring to non-cancer gynaecology as “benign”
- all UK nations to develop and fund workforce plans for gynaecology to ensure staffing isn’t a barrier to reducing waiting times
It’s time for action to end the suffering of many with endometriosis stuck on waiting lists for too long.