SDLP Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin has welcomed the news of a rapid and independent review of gynaecology services, adding that it further underlines the need for a Women’s Health Strategy.
Ms McLaughlin said:
“I am pleased that the Department of Health seems to have woken up to the urgent crisis faced by women when it comes to accessing their healthcare. Since becoming an MLA, I have consistently made the case to the department that the current system is broken and failing to deliver for women across Northern Ireland.
“Gynaecological health, in particular, is still subject to an unacceptable stigma and taboo and waiting lists are just inexcusable, particularly for conditions like endometriosis. Women have told me that they have found it almost impossible to receive a diagnosis and that even once diagnosed, they often wait in agony for years before accessing treatment. There has been an abject failure for many years to recognise the impact of these issues and resource our services appropriately as a result.
“The review announced this morning is long overdue and I am pleased that it seems that it will be conducted in a time-limited and focused way. However, I know many women will be concerned that the report that emerges from this review will be left to gather dust on a shelf. I will continue to advocate for a Women’s Health Strategy that is fully resourced so we can break down all the barriers that women face when it comes to accessing their healthcare. Every other part of these islands has put together a plan to tackle these inequalities that women face. Women in Northern Ireland deserve no less.”