Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). I know that these conditions have a profound impact on many women, and I sympathise with anyone affected.
Endometriosis and PCOS are chronic, complex and fluctuating conditions and I am aware of the enormous effect they can have on people’s lives. We know that one in ten women suffer from either of these conditions and I think it is extraordinary that nearly as many women in the UK have endometriosis or PCOS as have diabetes, yet the suffering associated with it is often private and unseen.
I am very concerned that in the UK Health Research Analysis 2018 report, it revealed that only 2.1% of publicly funded research in the UK went on reproductive and menstrual health, which was less than half of what it was in 2014. Furthermore, of the more than 8,000 research projects funded by the National Institute for Health Research only ten were on endometriosis and one was on PCOS.
There is clearly significant space to do much more on research in this country. Only last year, the Australian Government committed $9.5 million to that research. I believe we need that sort of ambition in this country as well.
In March 2021, the Government launched a 12-week call for evidence to better understand women’s experiences of the health and care system. The responses will inform the Women’s Health Strategy which the Government says will include a section on gynaecological conditions, including endometriosis and PCOS, as well as the research element.
I hope that this strategy will lead to improvements for women and women’s health. Healthcare needs to work for every woman across the UK and I believe that we urgently need better diagnosis, better understanding in primary care, more research and better support at work or through the welfare system.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue. I appreciate there is still a great deal more to do, and I will therefore continue to support efforts to improve all aspects of women’s health across the UK.