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Horror as women are facing major medical procedures without anaesthetic, warn experts

Hysteroscopy Action says thousands of women are in extreme pain during and following the invasive procedures to treat problems in the womb, with many suffering for days.

It says some are left with symptoms of post-traumatic stress and subsequently feel unable to have intimate relationships with partners. Others avoid important examinations such as smear tests.

The group has written to Women’s Minister, Maria Caulfield, to raise its concerns.

In its letter, it claims women are not always given the choice of intravenous sedation or general anaesthetic to reduce pain because of an NHS drive to cut costs. 

Some are given local anaesthetic which is often painful and doesn’t work. Others are given no drugs at all and expected to cope with distraction techniques  - known as “vocal locals.”

Hysteroscopy Action has urged Ms Caulfield to open more theatre space for women to have procedures under general anaesthetic as well as offering women the choice of intravenous sedation. 

Yet Hysteroscopy Action, which has been in touch with thousands of patients who have undergone such examinations, says women are not made aware of this.

Last week RCOG President Dr Edward Morris, said it was “working to improve clinical practice around outpatient hysteroscopy”.

He added: “No patient should experience excruciating pain and no doctor should be going ahead with outpatient hysteroscopy without informed consent.”

"Hysteroscopy Action has collated more than 3,000 accounts of “brutal pain, fainting and trauma during outpatient hysteroscopy.”  

Hysteroscopy Action's spokeswoman, Katharine Tylko said: “We are counselling hundreds of patients with PTSD, who for various medical reasons find the procedure extremely painful, some even find it torturous."

“This does not happen for other invasive procedures such as colonoscopy. We urge the Women’s Minister to act and are demanding an end to this gender pain-gap.”

The letter, which has over 20 signatories, including Helen Hughes, Chief Executive of the Patient Safety Learning charity, Baroness Shaista Gohir, civil rights campaigner, and women’s rights activist, Charlotte Kneer MBE, calls for women to be given informed consent and choice about whether and what type of sedation they want.

Read full story

Source: Express, 6 November 2022

Read hub members experiences of having a hysteroscopy in the Community thread and Patient Safety Learning's blog on improving hysteroscopy safety.


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