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Hundreds of women left ‘distressed’ by hysteroscopies

Hundreds of women have said they’ve undergone “distressing” diagnostic tests at NHS hospitals which were not carried out in line with recommended practice.

Around 520 women who attended NHS hospitals in England to undergo hysteroscopies — a procedure which uses narrow telescopes to examine the womb to diagnose the cause of heavy or abnormal bleeding — have told a survey their doctors carried on with their procedures even when they were in severe pain.

This is despite the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists advising clinicians should offer to reschedule with the use of general anaesthetic, epidural or sedation if the pain becomes unbearable. 

The Campaign Against Painful Hysteroscopy patient group has surveyed 860 women who had had the procedure at an English NHS hospital, and shared the results with HSJ. Of them, 750 said they were left distressed, tearful or shaken by the procedure, with around 466 of them saying that feeling remained for longer than a day.

Many of the women said their painful hysteroscopies damaged their trust in healthcare professionals, had made cervical smears more painful and had a negative impact on sexual relationships.

Patient Safety Learning have connected with the campaigning group 'Hysteroscopy Action' on this issue. We have seen stories and comments posted on the hub from patients who have suffered similar distressing experiences. We are using this feedback and evidence to help campaign for safer, harm-free care. We welcome others to join in the conversation.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 2 March 2020


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