Yesterday (October 20th) marked a significant day for endometriosis patients across the UK. Westminster Government’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Endometriosis launched its report into the experiences of the 1 in 10 affected, a report which incorporated the views of over 10,000 respondents.
The findings were shocking but, sadly, not surprising: diagnostic delays, treatment, and outcomes have not improved in over a decade. According to the report, in Wales, the diagnostic delay now averages 9 years – the worst out of all 4 UK nations. Prior to Covid, one third of endometriosis patients in Wales were waiting over 10 months for their operations, something that we know has increased dramatically since March.
FTWW was delighted to be asked by Endometriosis UK, the secretariat for the APPG, to submit a question which we have been assured will be answered by the Chair, Sir David Amess, and his team. Our question urged the APPG to write to Welsh Government and the Health Minister to highlight the alarming disparity in outcomes for patients here and to ask them to implement recommendations made in the report as a matter of urgency. These include:
- A commitment to reduce diagnostic delay by half by 2025
- Universal access to appropriate care, as set out by the 2017 NICE Guidance, and including care pathways for those with endometriosis outside of the pelvis
- Research into better treatments, causation and cure
- Improved awareness, including mandatory menstrual wellbeing education for all 4 UK nations
The full report can be seen here: https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/sites/default/files/files/Endometriosis%20APPG%20Report%20Oct%202020.pdf
In the meantime, Sir David has offered assurances that he will be writing to the devolved administrations, calling for mandatory menstrual wellbeing education for all pupils across the UK, so that young people know what’s normal and when to seek medical help, and so that the prejudices which create obstacles to women’s health being taken seriously can be overcome.
Following both the Senedd debate on endometriosis and the APPG’s findings this month, FTWW is now writing to Welsh Government and NHS Wales to ask for clarity and communication to patients whose operations and treatment have been delayed due to Covid. We will keep you posted on developments.