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Being a woman is bad for your health - Bairbre de Brún MEP

12 September, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today said that a study at six major teaching hospitals in Dublin confirmed that "gross inequalities exist within the health services in Ireland".

The health study found that women heart attack patients were forced to wait longer than their male counterparts for treatment in Irish hospitals. The study of 890 patients, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, revealed women waited half an hour to be medically assessed, compared with 20 minutes for men.

Speaking today the Former Assembly Health Minister said:

"Some of these statistics are shocking to say the least. The medical results are much too consistent and must raise the question as to whether there is discrimination against women patients. An extra ten minute wait over their male counterparts may not seem like a long time, but delays in treatment for women suffering heart attacks obviously increases the risk of death or greater damage to the body.

"An analysis carried out in Sweden* highlighted wide discrepancies between men and women in terms of prescription, treatment and costs. For example, men received twice as many light treatments of the body than women for diagnosis of eczema and psoriasis despite the fact that these diseases are equally common in both genders. Such discrepancies are more common than people think.

"It has long been recognised that being a woman is bad for your health. Indeed, available statistics reinforce this commonly held assertion. The World Health Organization has estimated that 1/5 of women in the world have been/will be subjected to physical or mental abuse during their lifetime.

"A recognition of the gender inequalities in health is required if we are to successfully combat such disparities and inequalities." ENDS

Note to Editor: *The study was carried out in Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm

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