Thank you for contacting me about endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
My heart goes out to all those living with these conditions; not before time, it is now better understood just what a destructive impact they can have on women's lives. It is vital to raise awareness of the impact on women worldwide.
To provide support, all obstetricians and gynaecologists have been trained in the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions and clinical guidelines on the diagnosis and management of endometriosis, and PCOS, have been published to assist doctors. I firmly believe this guidance must be followed in clinical settings and education, and in primary care, so women know what to expect and doctors have the knowledge they need to support women.
NHS England has developed units for severe endometriosis, with the expectation that all units provide women with severe endometriosis with care which meets the needs of each individual woman. I believe it is essential that care of this kind is specialised to a woman’s unique needs, and I know that Ministers want to empower people to shape and manage their own health and care and make meaningful choices.
I agree with my colleague the Minister for Patient Safety and Patient Care that it is unacceptable that the average diagnosis time for endometriosis is seven to eight years. It is imperative that we have a greater focus on women’s health to address issues like this and I warmly welcome England’s first women’s health strategy. The Government has confirmed that it will include a section on gynaecological conditions, like endometriosis and PCOS. I understand that the Government hopes to publish the strategy before the end of the year and I look forward to hearing more about it.
I welcome the work of Endometriosis UK and Verity, the UK PCOS Charity, to raise awareness of these conditions, as well as providing sufferers with further information and access to clinical trials and the latest research. Medical Research is funded through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). In the last five financial years, I am encouraged to learn that the NIHR and UKRI have awarded £8.52 million for research into endometriosis and £6.60 million for research into PCOS. This includes a wide range of projects, from basic science through to applied health research into diagnosis, treatment and service delivery. It is important that women with these conditions play a vital role in this research. I am glad that funding is available for this important area of research and welcome the Minister for Patient Safety and Patient Care’s commitment to working to ensure that funding reaches the places it needs to. MPs had a welcome opportunity to discuss this important issue in Parliament at the Westminster Hall Debate. While I was unable to attend this debate myself, I know that ministers are aware of the points you have raised with me and I will endeavour to ensure that they know about the experiences of those living with these conditions..
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP