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women's healthcare

Health minister announces 'see-and-treat' gynaecology services and 'advanced' endometriosis centre

These two health policies are recommendations from the Women’s Health Taskforce, established by the Department of Health in September 2019.

THE MINISTER FOR Health Stephen Donnelly has announced new funding for two “key” women’s health projects – including a €641,000 investment in an endometriosis service in Dublin to focus on more complex cases.

The first is the provision of two community-based ambulatory gynaecology services, governed by two acute hospitals – Tallaght University Hospital, and University Maternity Hospital Limerick, though located in Nenagh General Hospital.

This one-stop “see and treat” clinic-in-the-community project is to cost €1.415 million, where women can attend if they have a referral from their GP.

“This service will address a clear and identified need, as gynaecology services are acknowledged and recognised as being a service area that continues to be under significant and growing pressure,” Donnelly said.

The second funding is for the expansion of an endometriosis service at Tallaght University Hospital, involving a specialist endometriosis centre for the management and treatment of all forms of endometriosis, with particular focus on advanced and complex cases for which there is no ready access in Ireland.

This is to cost €641,000, the Department of Health statement said.

Endometriosis is estimated to affect 1 in 10 women and represents one of the top four categories of symptoms that comprise approximately 80% of gynaecology referrals.

The provision of a “secure, supported, expanded and specialist” service in Tallaght University Hospital is hoped to help to improve both clinical outcomes and overall care experience for women suffering from this debilitating condition.

These two health policies are recommendations from the Women’s Health Taskforce, established by the Department of Health in September 2019 to improve women’s health outcomes and experiences of healthcare, and came about following a scoping inquiry into the CervicalCheck programme.

Based on the evidence and informed by women’s perspectives and views, the Taskforce identified four initial priorities within its initial two-year action programme: improve gynaecological health; improve supports for menopause; improve physical activity; and improve mental health among women and girls.

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