These are common long-term conditions that can have a significant impact on a woman’s life and I am aware of and sympathise with the hardships faced by women who experience severe symptoms. I believe it is important 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; it is a core part of their training. The NHS has published clinical guidelines on the management of endometriosis, and PCOS, to assist doctors. While there is currently no cure, there are several options for treatment and ways that individuals can alter their lifestyle to improve symptoms. NHS England has also 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 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 and I am glad to learn that this is already the case.
You may be interested to learn that the Government launched a consultation to help inform the priorities, content and actions of England’s first Women’s Health Strategy, with questions on gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis. I am told that analysis of the evidence gathered is underway with a view to publishing the strategy later this year. This is a most welcome development and I look forward to learning more about these plans.