We need to step up provision for those with endometriosis – Lockhart

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has written to the Health Minister, Robin Swann, to press for urgent action to be taken to improve Northern Ireland’s healthcare provision for those with endometriosis. Currently, we have no fully accredited BSGE endometriosis specialist centre operating in Northern Ireland and delays in accessing care is much more prevalent than the UK average.

By Carla Lockhart MP

Upper Bann

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Carla Lockhart said:

“The sad reality is that those with endometriosis are being badly let down by our Department of Health. We see that we are lagging behind the UK average when it comes to accessing care, including for gynaecology appointments and surgery. This was evidenced by the APPG on Endometriosis inquiry report in 2020 that showed that 39% were seen within six months, compared to 69% average in the rest of the UK. 61% waited more than six months to see a gynaecologist, compared to 24% in the rest of the UK. In terms of surgery, 1 in 4 here waited for more than a year, with the UK average under 1 in 10.

That is simply not good enough, and represents a failure of our Health Department to provide the timely intervention needed for those with suspected or confirmed cases of endometriosis. The Minister must strive for better, and two years on from the Inquiry report and its rather stark findings, we need to see outcomes rather than words and assurances of better to come at some point in the future.

Of utmost priority must be the reinstatement of a specialist care service in the Western Health and Social Care Trust. We also need the additional funding required to allow our Belfast centre to be fully accredited to be provided. Funding in this upscaling of service is vital. The Minister must direct the resources needed to bring about the radical improvement of services so desperately needed.

In the meantime, we need access to care to be made available across the UK for those locally in need of care. This is something I have raised with DHSC Minister Maria Caulfield MP and I trust that the Government will be sympathetic to this cause.”

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