A woman has described being in ‘excruciating pain’ after having to wait 11 months before she could be seen by a specialist for suspected endometriosis.
Rose Shephard, 22, a student children’s nurse, said that Sloan Medical Centre were due to refer her on to a specialist in October 2020 for abdominal pains.
However, her referral was not sent by Sloan Medical Centre until March 2021 due to an administrative error, despite the medical centre giving assurances that the referral had been sent.
It was not until Mrs Shephard was admitted to hospital in June 2021 when she was found to have an ovarian cyst, a symptom of the condition endometriosis, that a gynaecologist called Royal Hallamshire Hospital to speed up the referral.
The wait caused great discomfort for Mrs Shephard.
She said: “It caused me so much stress, I was crying from frustration. I was worried because I was still without diagnosis and felt that without a diagnosis, pain isn’t taken seriously at all.
“Physically, I was being told that I should be able to manage with paracetamol and ibuprofen. These did not take the pain away.”
Mrs Shephard was also critical of the doctors’ approach towards her concerns.
She said: “I feel that the doctors were often dismissive and didn’t consider the frustration I was feeling.”
Mrs Shephard also said that she had been visiting GPs since the age of 12 due to bad period pains, something which she was told was normal.
Summarising her experience with getting a diagnosis, Mrs Shephard said: “I was let down at several points and now have very little faith in the NHS.”
Rozie Corbett from Endometriosis UK, the leading endometriosis charity in the UK, said that it takes eight years on average for endometriosis to be diagnosed.
Speaking about Mrs Shephard’s story, she said: “It’s unacceptable in many regards. Driving down waiting times is a priority for us”
Endometriosis UK want to help educate GPs and the public on the symptoms of endometriosis and combat the current waiting times for a diagnosis.
The charity say that they wish to reduce the average wait for a diagnosis to five years by 2025 and one year by 2030.