The mesh implant scandal has highlighted how doctors must properly listen to women, says a male patient safety expert

PUBLISHED: 17:44 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:44 19 November 2018

Bruce Hugman, communications specialist for Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC) Sweden. Picture: BRUCE HUGMAN

Bruce Hugman, communications specialist for Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC) Sweden. Picture: BRUCE HUGMAN

Archant

The mesh implant scandal has highlighted how women are often ignored by doctors and face a health care system that does not understand their needs, according to a patient safety expert.

Bruce Hugman, communications specialist for Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC) Sweden. Picture: BRUCE HUGMANBruce Hugman, communications specialist for Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC) Sweden. Picture: BRUCE HUGMAN

Women suffer from more illnesses throughout their lifetime than men, yet doctors often do not give proper time or serious attention to them, leaving some suffering for years, he said.

Bruce Hugman, communications specialist for Uppsala Monitoring Centre in Sweden, says in addition, the risk of treatments are often not properly communicated to women.

Mr Hugman, part of a global organisation dedicated to improving patient safety, said: “Doctors must listen, give time and pay serious attention to women.

“Healthcare systems, institutions and priorities are designed and managed largely by men; many women are subject to the arbitrary rule of male authority.

“Successful health care for women can happen only when patient’s own personal health stories are deeply appreciated and risk of any treatment or operation are properly communicated.

“Chronic pelvic pain has long been neglected, even disparaged; the vaginal mesh implant disaster took years to be taken seriously, clandestine abortions represent a huge threat.

“Although women live longer than men almost everywhere, they suffer from more illnesses and disabilities throughout their lives.

“Reproductive health, cancer, heart disease, chronic pain, depression, visual impairment, osteoarthritis, dementia and other diseases of old age, are major issues.

“In coronary heart disease, women receive less effective treatment and have poorer outcomes than men.

“In conditions unique to women such as pregnancy and menopause, there are vast disparities in access, treatment and outcomes within nations and across the world.

“Many of the treatments for women are complex, problematic or risky. Screening for breast cancer, medication for epilepsy and other procedures and conditions in pregnancy, menopausal hormone therapy, contraception among them.

“Recruitment of women in clinical trials, neglect of issues of importance to women in research (such as endometriosis and menopause); differential and discriminatory treatment (excess opioid prescription for pain), oppressive male behaviour and neglect of compassionate care, all exhibit systemic bias, a real danger for women.

“Data and information are often not disaggregated by sex.

“Millions of women have little or no access to healthcare or are inhibited or prevented from accessing it.

“Women in ethnic and sexual minorities, even within affluent societies, endure higher risks of pregnancy related complications and deaths than white women, rural women, higher risks than urban women.”

Bruce said three major changes are needed;

• Women need easy access to the best information, ideally access to local, well informed health workers, preferably women.

• Researchers and health workers, must act on the belief that the needs, preferences and priorities of women are important and quite different from those of men.

• Women’s health and welfare, their potential for self-management, the risk of treatment regret, are intimately influenced by political, social, economic, systemic, spiritual and psychological operators that are additional, major risk factors that require recognition.

Mr Hugman said: “Without knowledge and wisdom in the richness, complexity and risks of women’s lives, even good data is a poor servant, and the statistical benefits and harms of medicines unreliable guides.

“The authentic narratives of women’s lives are the essential foundation for good risk communication and good health care.

“Doctors must listen, give time and pay serious attention to them.”

• Uppsala Monitoring Centre is a not for profit foundation dedicated to safer use of medicines and treatments for patients everywhere, through a science known as pharmacovigilance. Uppsala has been associated with the World Health Organisation since 1978.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ely Standard visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ely Standard staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ely Standard account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 15:20

Greater Anglia train driver Jason Brooks who leapt into action to perform CPR on a passenger who had collapsed at Ely station has won recognition at a national awards ceremony.

Yesterday, 13:15

Two canons of Ely Cathedral are to sleep out to raise money for homeless charities.

Yesterday, 12:15

MP Lucy Frazer and police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite headed a panel to update villagers on efforts to tackle crime locally that had included a raid on a travellers’ site.

Yesterday, 14:36

Government funds coming into Cambridgeshire will provide a £100 million children’s hospital on the Addenbrooke’s Hospital site in Cambridge and £25 million to expand Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Ely Standard weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy