During the pandemic, patients across England have experienced increased waitlists for gynaecology, some of which have soared by more than 60%. This is a bigger increase than any other medical speciality, which experts say is because women’s medical treatments are being sidelined and minimised.
More than 570,000 UK women are waiting for gynae treatment, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is voicing concern. They have said gynae patients are “consistently deprioritised and overlooked.”
While NHS England claims that Covid backlogs are being dealt with and elective treatment wait times are decreasing, patients are still experiencing long waits.
The RCOG is now calling a better quality of care designed for women’s needs
One woman, Chetna Mistry, dealing with excruciating endometriosis that also left her infertile, was referred in June 2020. Twenty-one months later, her surgery is still not confirmed, and she has had to visit the A&E multiple times in unbearable pain. She says, “I’m pretty much house-bound now, due to the pain. I’m a shadow of my former self.”
Another sufferer, who prefers to just go by her first name Lucy, says, “it’s cruel. It’s cruel to leave somebody waiting there for that long. Why are we doing it to us?”
Back in February 2020, the gynaecology waiting list in England included 286,008 patients, while by January 2022 it had risen to a staggering 456,938
An even more sobering figure shows that 66 patients waited more than a year for treatment before Covid, while that number is now nearly 25,000. A staggering 1300 people have been waiting for gynae treatment for more than two years.
Shockingly, these figures may not reveal the true scale of the problem, as the RCOG believes that up to 400,000 women haven’t yet sought treatment. The true waiting list could actually be more than 850,000.
According to RCOG president Dr Edward Morris, who feels helpless that he can’t help more women, gender absolutely plays a role
“There is an element of gender bias in the system. I don’t believe that we are listening to voices of women as well as we should be. The priority they urgently need is not being given to them.”
The RCOG recently asked 830 women on gynae waiting lists how the wait times had impacted their lives
More than 80% said that their mental health had suffered, and 77% said they couldn’t work or socialise normally. That means that hundreds of thousands of women are being forced to stay home with a decreased quality of life because they can’t get the medical treatment they are entitled to – this is an outrage.
Have you been impacted by the long wait times for gynaecologist appointments and vital treatment? Do you feel minimised and cast aside by the NHS? We want to hear from you. Share your experiences in the comment section or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know more about your experiences.
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