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Health Minister urged to address need for integrated endometriosis service – Sue Ramsey

17 June, 2013 - by Sue Ramsey

Sinn Féin MLA Sue Ramsey has called on the Minister of Health to hold an inquiry into the need for an integrated endometriosis service.

Speaking in the Assembly, the West Belfast MLA and Chair of the Health Committee said:

“Endometriosis is a condition which many people know very little about, despite it affecting around one in every ten women between the ages of 25 and 45. The exact cause of the condition remains unclear, although the disease has been known of for decades.

“The disease not only causes extreme pain, but if untreated can lead to reduced fertility and indeed infertility. There is also a strong link with depression.

“While there is no cure for endometriosis the symptoms can be managed with pain relieving drugs, hormone therapies and surgery.

“Currently a single dedicated endometriosis clinic staffed by a consultant gynaecologist runs once a month in the Belfast Trust. This is not sufficient and there is a need for a multi-disciplinary team to be set up.

“This would improve waiting times for surgery, which currently can be up to 18 months. It would also allow a more holistic form of care to be provided to help women manage the condition. For example, therapies such as counselling and pain management have been shown to be effective.

In my view this sort of service should be provided in a new women and children’s hospital. We need a hospital dedicated to women’s needs, which goes much wider than maternity issues.

“Conditions such as endometriosis can have a devastating impact on women’s lives – on our sisters, our daughters, our nieces, our friends. Effective and timely treatment needs to be prioritised so that women are not suffering in silence, or without the proper support and help they deserve.” END

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