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Women's symptoms ignored by GPs

PUBLISHED

Too many women feel fobbed off or not listened to when they raise concerns about their health, according to a women's health campaign group.

The Women's Health Wales coalition says women are often misdiagnosed or have to push for a diagnosis.

The theme has emerged repeatedly during BBC Wales interviews with women.

The Welsh government said it had set out what's expected of the NHS on women's health, and a full plan is due to be published this autumn.

"From the moment I went to my GP about my symptoms in my late teens, I have always felt dismissed," said Jessica Ricketts, 35, who was diagnosed with endometriosis.

But the feeling of being fobbed off has cropped up in countless conversations with women whether it be in relation to a heart attack, UTI, stroke, autism or even brain tumour.

Patients have told us that clinicians thought they were having a panic attack rather than a heart attack," said Gemma Roberts, policy and public affairs manager at British Heart Foundation Cymru, and co-chair of the Women's Health Wales coalition.

"We hear from patients and from clinicians that women have to see their GPs multiple times before they get a diagnosis. Women often aren't listened to.

"They are told that pain is a normal part of the female experience but actually that isn't the case. I think we need to be listening to women more about what's going on with their own bodies."

The coalition wants:

  • Greater focus on women's health from the very beginning of medical training.
  • Health data to be broken down by protected characteristics because "the stories of women with those backgrounds goes untold".
  • Equitable access to healthcare, including specialist care, regardless of where women live in Wales.

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Source: BBC News, 28 September 2022

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