Endometriosis – campaign for early diagnosis to improve girls’ education and future

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2013 National Women's Conference
18 October 2012

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the womb lining is found outside the uterus. It affects an estimated 10% of women of childbearing age and has affected girls as young as 11 years. Its cause is unknown and diagnosis difficult and for those who suffer from the condition it can be chronic and debilitating. As a result it can have a massive impact on a woman’s life including difficulty in fulfilling work and social commitments. This is a condition to which there is no cure, only treatment and is not understood enough by the women affected and their families.

The issue was first raised at this conference over 10 years ago in 2002 and again in 2003 when the National Women’s Committee was instructed to, amongst other things, raise awareness throughout UNISON, affiliate to the National Endometriosis Society, work with the National Women’s TUC Committee and lobby Parliament.

With the average time between a woman first consulting the doctor with the symptoms and then receiving the diagnosis currently standing at 8 years there is still more to do. For girls the condition will develop at a crucial time in their education and development and can have a devastating effect on their future. Endometriosis UK has been working with other leading health charities on a campaign aimed at ensuring GPs and hospitals are better supported to be able to diagnose girls and women more quickly.

This Conference calls for the National Women’s Committee to build on this Campaign and particularly focus on improving early diagnosis and treatment for girls by:

1) Asking all Regional Women’s Committees to affiliate to Endometriosis UK, raise awareness, particularly encouraging members working in education and healthcare to support this campaign

2) Circulating this information and put it on the UNISON website

3) Liaising with the Education Service group and sister Education trade unions to raise the campaign in schools, further and higher education colleges