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Staff shortages leaving women in ‘barbaric’ pain

Patient safety campaigners have said ‘too many women’ are still not being offered a general anaesthetic for a diagnostic test because of staff shortages, leaving them in severe pain.

A survey by the Campaign Against Painful Hysteroscopies found around 240 women – which equates to 80 per cent of respondents – who had a hysteroscopy since the start of 2021 said they were not told they could have a general anaesthetic prior to the procedure.

This suggests the situation has only improved marginally since 2019, when the campaign group first started collecting data. A spokeswoman from the campaign group called the pain being endured by women “barbaric” and said staffing shortages need to be addressed.

Guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said all pain relief options, including general anaesthetic, should be discussed.

Helen Hughes, chief executive of Patient Safety Learning, said: “We are hearing from too many women that they are not being given the full information about the procedure. It damages their trust and makes them worry about accessing future services.”

She said: “It’s distressing that despite what we know, [the guidance] is not being implemented properly. Informed consent is essential for patient safety as well as a legal requirement.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 7 June 2022

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Here's the quote I gave HSJ from the Campaign Against Painful Hysteroscopy:   

“A shortage of anaesthetists continues to cause barbaric pain in gynae endoscopy. 

Leading gynaecologists are trivialising uterine endoscopy and claiming it causes only “mild discomfort”. 

So women are tricked into attempting hysteroscopy/biopsy/polyp removal with NO sedation, NO anaesthesia and just paracetamol & ibuprofen from home. 

NHS audits show that 1 in 3 hysteroscopy outpatients suffer SEVERE pain. 

Yet colonoscopy patients are routinely offered safely monitored IV sedation with analgesia.  

Do we need #metoo lawsuits to end the gender pain gap?


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