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Nurses need to help improve care for women with gynaecological problems

Monday 3rd April 2017
Patients with gynaecological conditions are not always treated with dignity, a new government report has found. Image: Vonschonertagen via iStock
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    Nurses in the UK have an important role to play in helping to improve the standard of care provided to women with gynaecological conditions, according to a new government report.

    The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women's Health has published the results of a survey conducted with more than 2,600 women with endometriosis or fibroids, which was intended to discover how good the care is that these patients receive from healthcare professionals.

    However, the poll led to the discovery that almost half (42 per cent) of women do not feel as though they are treated with dignity and respect when their gynaecological health is being discussed, while 62 per cent are not satisfied with the volume of information available on their condition.

    In addition, just under 50 per cent of fibroid and endometriosis sufferers reported that they had not been told about either the short or long-term potential complications of the treatments they received.

    As a result, over two-thirds (67 per cent) of patients got the majority of their information online, while 39 per cent felt they needed a second opinion after initially speaking to their GP.

    What's more, it took 40 per cent of women to attend ten or more GP appointments before receiving a referral, which suggests gynaecological problems are not always taken seriously.

    Paula Sherriff MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women's Health, stated: "If women cannot even get the right diagnosis and information about treatments, how can they possibly decide what is the best care for themselves?

    "Women deserve every opportunity to take control of their own healthcare and this group is striving to empower women so they have this potential. The statistics in this report show that women are all too often dismissed by healthcare professionals."

    With this in mind, nurses have a key role to play in informing patients about their condition and the types of treatment and support that are available, in line with the calls to action outlined by the report authors.

    They want all symptoms that could be an indicator of endometriosis or fibroids to be taken seriously, with patients referred to specialists within a set timeframe before they are provided with detailed information on treatment options, as well as their possible side effects or complications.

    Written by James Puckle

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