'Appalling’ waits women face for hysterectomies condemned

Labour women’s health spokeswoman said those waiting for surgery are being 'forced to suffer in agony, anxiety and exhaustion'.

Labour condemns ‘appalling’ waits women face for hysterectomies Getty Images

The Scottish Government has been accused of “failing” women who need a hysterectomy, as figures showed one patient has been waiting almost four years for surgery.

Details obtained by Labour show an NHS Lanarkshire patient has been waiting 1,392 days for the procedure – in which a woman’s uterus is removed.

A patient in NHS Tayside has been waiting 1,274 days for the operation, the statistics obtained by the party using freedom of information requests also show.

Labour women’s health spokeswoman Carol Mochan said those waiting for surgery are being “forced to suffer in agony, anxiety and exhaustion”.

She said while ministers this year appointed Professor Anna Glasier as Scotland’s first women’s health champion, that has not resulted in action to tackle the “appalling long waits for treatment experienced by women”.

She added the “worrying” length of some waits could “put women’s health at risk”.

The data shows that in the NHS Borders area, the longest waits for a hysterectomy have risen by 1,130% since 2018-19 – going from 50 days to 715.

Labour said that of the 10,000-plus women on the gynaecological wait list across Scotland, there are 3,300 who have waited at least a year.

Ms Mochan said: “Every day spent waiting for surgery is another day that women are being forced to suffer in agony, anxiety, and exhaustion.

“The worrying length of some of these waits has and will continue to put women’s health at risk, but nothing will get any better while the SNP continue to sit on their hands.

“We can no longer use the pandemic as an excuse for failing women in need.

“When Professor Glasier, the women’s health champion took up her post in January this year, it offered the opportunity for change in tackling years of neglect women’s healthcare has faced.

“The SNP must get a grip on the appalling long waits for treatment experienced by women with a proper catch up plan for women-specific specialities, and get serious about reversing the health inequalities women are forced to endure.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are working with NHS Boards to reduce long waits, which have been exacerbated by the impacts of the global pandemic.

“This includes targets to address long waits and delivery of the commitments in our £1 billion NHS Recovery Plan to support an increase in inpatient, day-case, and outpatient activity.

“We know there are unacceptable waits in some specialities and are committed to ensuring patients receive treatment as soon as possible.

“Two National Treatment Centres opened this year in Fife and Highland, with two further centres opening soon in Forth Valley and the Golden Jubilee, providing additional protected capacity for patients across Scotland.

“In each of the next three years, we will provide NHS Boards with £100 million to help reduce inpatient and day-case waiting lists by an estimated 100,000 patients and deliver year on year reductions.”

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