By Adelaide Cromwell-Keenan
There are claims Western Australian women are being left behind as their local women’s health clinics are being staffed by uneducated doctors and suffer from long waiting lists.
Chronic diseases, like endometriosis, affects up to 1 in 10 women in Australia, but takes up to 12-years to diagnose, according to the federal Department of Health.
Executive Director of the WA Health Consumers’ Council Pip Brennan, said health services were more interested in where funding comes from, rather than focusing on purely women’s health.
“The Health Consumers’ Council firmly believes that when women are placed at the centre of consideration and is consulted on the services that are there to meet her needs, then there is a much greater likelihood that those services will help them,” said Brennan.
“If it is all around the needs of the system and funding, you end up with a very [little] offering of services with many gaps and overlaps.”
“The answer lies in embedding the involvement of women in the services and policies that are there to meet their needs and bringing together the fragmented services.”
University student Laura Fleming says her experience using women’s health services for her endometriosis was filled with long waits and dismissive consultations.
“As [I] went through the public health system, I had to wait approximately a year to even be waitlisted for surgery.”
“When I met with [my doctor] he was very rude and dismissed what I had to say,” said Ms. Fleming.
She said her experience would have been better if Perth doctors were better educated on women’s health.
The Australian Women’s Health Network recently published an open letter urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison to “take action” and support women’s health.
As of April 9th, the federal government had pledged $30 million to fight endometriosis and ovarian cancer.