Endometriosis (Diagnosis)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 23rd September 2021.

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Photo of Rhoda Grant Rhoda Grant Labour

7. To ask the First Minister what steps are being taken to ensure that women who have endometriosis are diagnosed within a year. (S6F-00287)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Reducing the time for endometriosis diagnosis to under a year is a key aim in the women’s health plan. Work on that is already being undertaken by the national health service centre for sustainable delivery, which is developing a pelvic pain pathway, starting with endometriosis.

Over the past year, the Scottish Government has funded Endometriosis UK to carry out research to identify the challenges to diagnosis in primary care and the implementation of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline on endometriosis.

It is an important priority for many women across the country and we are committed to seeing real improvements in that area.

Photo of Rhoda Grant Rhoda Grant Labour

The women’s health plan sets out a goal to reduce endometriosis diagnosis from eight years to less than a year in this parliamentary session. However, there is very little detail on how the Government plans to reach that goal, especially in remote rural areas, where proximity to services poses a unique challenge. Campaigners in Caithness are calling for a review of all women’s services, including in relation to endometriosis, to highlight the challenges that they face. Will the First Minister listen to those campaigners and review women’s services in areas where there is a greater distance from such services, such as Caithness?

The First Minister:

I am happy to consider that. We are listening and have listened on the issue. We are the first country in the United Kingdom to publish a women’s health plan. The plan sets out more than 60 different actions to ensure that women get the best possible health response throughout their lives.

A recent report from the UK all-party parliamentary group on endometriosis made some recommendations that we will consider further—they are already being considered in the context of the women’s health plan.

The particular target for endometriosis diagnosis is very challenging. Right now, the average time for diagnosis is more than eight years. It is right that we set a target to bring that down to under a year. A range of things have to be done to achieve that. I referred to the work that the centre for sustainable delivery is doing around the pelvic pain pathway, which is an important part of getting the interventions right, as is doing more to understand some of the barriers to diagnosis in primary care.

We will report regularly on progress on all the actions in the women’s health plan, and on that point in particular.

The Presiding Officer:

Several members want to ask supplementary questions on this issue. I regret that we are already over time and are impinging on the next item of business, so that will not be possible today.

I would like to enable more members to put questions to the First Minister during First Minister’s question time, but the length of some earlier questions and responses means that that is not possible today. I urge members to ensure that their questions and responses are as succinct as possible.