Women's Health Special - Nadine Dorries, Unwell Women, Mesh removal centres, Autoimmunity

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Manage episode 294506298 series 1301210
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Women's health has long been the poor relation when it comes to medical understanding, funding and research. The government says it wants that to change - and earlier this year announced the establishment of England's first Women's Health Strategy, which will look at women's health across our lifespans. The priorities of that strategy will be shaped, they say, by the results of a public call for evidence which closes this Sunday. But after centuries of - as the Health Secretary Matt Hancock put it - 'living with a health and care system that is mostly designed by men, for men', what sort of confidence should we have in this strategy bringing about meaningful change? Emma Barnett is joined by Women's Health Minister, Nadine Dorries. Why are so many women dismissed, disbelieved or misdiagnosed when they seek medical help? Dr Elinor Cleghorn, cultural historian and author of 'Unwell Women - A journey through medicine and myth in a man-made world', says the answer lies in over a thousand years of history. She talks to Emma about the shockingly slow pace of change in attitudes to women's health, why women's pain still isn't taken seriously, and how the message that women's bodies are at the mercy of their thoughts and feelings has burrowed deep into our consciousness. In April this year, seven specialist mesh complication centres were launched in England to help treat women harmed by the use of pelvic mesh. These centres were recommended in a report by Baroness Cumberlege as a way of concentrating expertise and improving outcomes. But how are the centres working so far? And what are the fears and concerns still facing those women waiting for their mesh to be removed? Listener Judi tells us her experience, and Prof Hashim Hashim, a urological surgeon with specialist skill in mesh removal, explains why the surgery is so complicated and how medical professionals are trying to rebuild trust amid so much pain and anger. Around four million people have an autoimmune disease in the UK - so around 8% of the population. But of these four million, 78% are women. Reporter Carolyn Atkinson talks to Professor Lucy Walker about a new study into what might tie all these conditions together, and also Nina Christie, who currently lives with three autoimmune conditions. Presenter Emma Barnett Producer Anna Lacey

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