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Health boards appoint specialist endometriosis nurses to improve treatment in Wales

14 Mar 2022 3 minutes Read
Endometriosis Nurses and Health Minister Eluned Morgan image Welsh Government

Health boards across Wales have appointed specialist endometriosis nurses to improve services for the one in ten women living with the chronic condition.

In 2018 the Welsh Government committed £1m per annum to fund the Women’s Health Implementation Group (WHIG) as part of plans to improve women’s health services with consistent provision of best practice for women in Wales.

The appointments were made as part of this initiative and the nurses now in place will be working together as a clinical team and with patients and clinicians.

As part of the service, the WHIG have developed a dedicated website for patients and the nurses to use.

Endometriosis Cymru includes personal accounts from women across Wales and a symptom tracker which could become a diagnosis tool for patients and clinicians to speed up diagnosis and treatment.

Endometriosis affects one in ten women in the UK and can have long term debilitating effects. It occurs when tissue similar to that found inside the womb is found elsewhere in the body.

Symptoms

Many women with endometriosis experience pain in the pelvic area which will be experienced at specific times in the menstrual cycle and after sex, and if left untreated, can also cause pain at other times of the month.

It mainly affects women of reproductive age, generally between 11-45 years, but can also affect pre-pubescent girls and women who have gone through menopause

The symptoms of endometriosis can also vary greatly but commonly include

  • pain in the lower belly or back (pelvic pain) – usually worse during a period
  • period pain that prevents normal activities
  • pain during or after sex
  • pain when peeing or pooing during a period
  • feeling sick, having constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in pee during a period
  • aching legs
  • difficulty getting pregnant (infertility)
  • feeling tired (fatigue)
  • feeling weak and/or fainting

Last week was Endometriosis awareness week (3-9th March) and the Welsh Health Minister and Chief Nursing Officer for Wales, Sue Tranka met six of the newly appointed nurses: Jo Kitt from Aneurin Bevan, Beth Pucella from Cwm Taf, Sam Robinson from Hywel Dda, Amanda Price from Powys Teaching Health Board, Jenny Shaw from Swansea Bay and Mao Alberto from Cardiff and the Vale.

Lizzie Bruen from Cardiff and Vale Health board, who helps mentor the new nurses in their roles also attended.

Distressing

The Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “Endometriosis affects one in ten women. It can cause serious pain and can seriously impact quality of life for women affected by the condition.

“Our Women’s Health Implementation Group is progressing vital work to support women’s health and the appointment of a dedicated endometriosis nurse in each health board will help raise awareness, diagnosis and treatment of this serious condition across Wales.

“I have heard of distressing accounts of misdiagnosis and women with this condition not being taken seriously with this condition, I am determined that women in Wales get the service they deserve.

“Historically women’s health services have not had equal treatment and women’s voices have been ignored.

“I am determined that we raise the standards of all women’s health services in Wales and this summer I will be publishing a Quality Statement setting out how that will be achieved.”


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