Gynaecologist wait times in the UK
For women’s and menstrual healthcare in the UK, the NHS currently provides a range of services including appointments with doctors, obstetrics, gynaecologists, cervical screenings, and emergency surgery.
While the quality of care is available for women in the UK from the NHS, resources are currently strained leading to long wait lists. The delay in wait times has caused some women to take out private health insurance policies in order to access a shorter waiting time.
As leaders in gynaecologist approved vagina friendly period care, from period cups and organic pads and tampons, we hear everyday how hard it is to access gynaecologists for menstrual health conditions. We wanted to find out just how long the wait times are in the UK to see a gynaecologist, so we decided to look into NHS data across the country.
Which hospital has the longest wait time for Gynaecologists?
Our research shows that the trust with the longest wait time to see a gynaecologist is based in Lancashire, where only 17.6% of patients are seen within 18 weeks of requesting an appointment. In fact, almost two-thirds of patients in Lancashire don’t get seen within 6 months, and over one in five are still waiting to see a gynaecologist after one year.
Great Yarmouth has the longest wait time for gynaecologists of over a year where over a quarter of patients haven’t been seen within a year of requesting their appointment. This is followed by Chester, where 24% of patients are still waiting after a year.
In Leicester, where 12,745 patients requested an appointment with a gynaecologist, over 7,000 patients were still waiting to be seen after 6 months.
Which regions have the longest waiting times?
Our research shows that wait times for Gynaecology Services in the UK are the longest in the North West, where over one in ten patients haven’t been seen within one year of requesting an appointment.
In this region, almost half of the patients haven’t been seen within 18 weeks of requesting an appointment.
Where in the North West, 11% of patients had not been seen after one year, in London, this figure is 3%.
The wait times in the North East and Yorkshire commissioning region are better than those of the North West, where almost two-thirds of patients see a gynaecologist within 18 weeks.
Gynaecology services are currently available on the NHS, where patients can ask their GP for a referral to see one. They may, however, ask the patient to try a variety of treatments before they put forward a referral. Once a referral has been made, patients can choose which specialist they see and which hospital they attend.
Which Trust has the shortest waiting time?
We also looked at which trusts have the shortest wait times in the country. Our research showed that The Christie NHS foundation trust in Manchester has the shortest wait time to see for gynaecologist services, where nine in 10 patients are seen within 18 weeks.
Also seeing shorter wait times are trusts in Worcestershire and Hertfordshire, Northumbria, Barnsley and South Tyneside and Sunderland. Here, the majority of patients are seen within 18 weeks with less than 20 waiting more than 6 weeks.
Commenting on the results, Lucy Lettice, Co-Founder of &SISTERS, said:
“The women’s and menstrual health services are currently in a crisis. Our research shows that 51 trusts have over a quarter of patients waiting more than six months to see a gynaecologist. The standard for women and menstrual health is unacceptable and the wait times are still on the rise.
“The All Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause has made 13 recommendations for the government, including a health check for all women at 45 to help diagnose menopause at an earlier stage. We are urging the government to make gynaecologist services a priority so that women can receive the help they need.”
To conduct our research, we analysed NHS England data on referral to treatment waiting times, published on 8th September 2022.
We calculated the number of patients who had been waiting for 6 months and one year, and used the existing data to rank the trusts in terms of the longest and shortest wait times for gynaecologist services.