Written by Charley Ross
Research has found that wait times to see a gynaecologist have trebled over the last decade, and 38,231 women have been waiting for longer than a year for an appointment.
MPs and healthcare bodies are accusing the Conservative Party of “failing women”, as research has found that wait times for gynaecologist appointments have trebled in the last 10 years.
In October 2012, the average wait time was 4.8 weeks. In October 2022, NHS research has found that it’s now closer to 15.6 weeks, a 225% increase.
That’s a lot of women waiting for care. According to The Guardian, 38,231 women have been waiting for longer than a year for an appointment, and 69 patients were found to have been waiting for over two years.
“The government keeps blaming the pandemic for rising waiting times, but the truth is ministers have deprioritised women’s health for over a decade – and now women are suffering the consequences,” said Anneliese Dodds, the shadow secretary of state for women and equalities.
According to Dr Ranee Thakar, the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, this new research suggests that the wait time for gynaecological appointments has been an issue since before the pandemic.
“Women’s health has been consistently deprioritised,” she says. “Gynaecology waiting times are currently the longest we’ve seen since waiting list targets were introduced, leaving thousands of women with symptoms including extreme pain, heavy menstrual bleeding and incontinence.
“Women with gynaecological conditions are being let down,” she added, highlighting the impact that this issue can have on both women’s bodies and minds. “Many are suffering with both their physical and mental health, impacting on their work, their ability to socialise and their relationships.”
The Department of Health and Social Care has responded: “We are focused on tackling waiting lists and the number of women waiting over two years has reduced tenfold since the start of the year.
“Patients waiting over 18 weeks for treatment, including those on gynaecology waiting lists, can also receive their care at another hospital.”
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