Stroud councillor Helen Fenton is calling for changes in the way doctors manage pain during womb examinations known as hysteroscopies.
A hysteroscopy involves the insertion of a camera into the womb, past the cervix. It is used to investigate painful and heavy periods; repeated miscarriage and cancer. However, for some women patients, it causes severe pain.
Stroud District Cllr Fenton said that patients are routinely not given information about the potential pain involved, or given access to pain relief.
“Many patients have gone on to suffer PTSD,” said Cllr Fenton.
“None were warned of the risks of severe pain reported in recent NHS audits. The words used repeatedly to describe the experience are ‘barbaric’, ‘medieval’, ‘torture’ and ‘violated’. Many women weep, faint or vomit.”
Whilst it is most often an out-patient procedure, under NHS guidelines women are able to opt for anaesthesia if they would prefer, but this is frequently not made clear.
Cllr Helen Fenton is joining Hysteroscopy Action in calling for all patients to receive full written information before the procedure, including listing the risk factors for severe pain, and are offered a choice of outpatient procedure or safely monitored conscious sedation, epidural, or general anaesthetic.
She said: “As SDC’s representative on Gloucestershire County Council’s Health Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) I am speaking out on this issue because we all deserve compassionate and fair health care from the NHS in Gloucestershire.”
MP Lyn Brown has started a petition calling for an end to NHS hysteroscopies with inadequate pain-relief, see: bit.ly/32OSLFz