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Women need to stand up to GPs more, says health minister


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Women need to be ‘more confident’ when they see a GP and ‘not take no for an answer’, health minister Nadine Dorries has said.

Ms Dorries made the comment while appearing on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour programme yesterday, after being asked about previous similar comments she had made regarding endometriosis diagnosis last year.

Speaking on the BBC show, Ms Dorries said her message to women was: ‘Don’t be fobbed off.’

She said: ‘I believe that GPs and those many women feel that a doctor is so much more qualified, so much more knowledgeable. Therefore he must be right and he knows what he’s talking about and I must be wrong being here and coming here all the time.

‘I want women to be more confident when they walk in and not take no for an answer.’

She continued: ‘And if you’re still in pain, and if you’re not being taken seriously and if your GP isn’t referring you on for consultant treatment, then ask for it, demand it, because it is your right to do so.’

Last year, in response to a parliamentary report on endometriosis, Ms Dorris had suggested women as patients ‘do not push back, they do not challenge, they’re not confident enough to raise an issue so they’re very easily dismissed’.

Asked by radio host Emma Barnett if her comments were not ‘patient-shaming’, Ms Dorries argued that they were ‘patient-empowering’.

She added: ‘Women aren’t there to be fobbed off – they are there to be referred for services.’

Ms Dorries gave examples of a doctor prescribing antidepressants or CBT to a peri-menopausal patient, and regularly hearing from women who ‘don’t like to challenge because they feel that the doctor must be doing the right thing’.

Ms Dorries: ‘We all know doctors are very busy people and we’re focusing on primary care settings. They have so much time that they spend with each patient; the patient doesn’t always see the same doctor every time.

‘What I’m trying to do is empower women to have the confidence to go into a doctor’s and challenge what the doctor is saying to them.’

READERS' COMMENTS [11]

David Jarvis 11 June, 2021 1:02 pm

I find this weird. You come for my opinion. If you don’t like it then I need challenging? Not sure that changes my opinion especially as so much is proscribed by govt guidelines. If you are not happy the only person who can change that is you not me. I cannot externally create happiness in you.

Decorum Est 11 June, 2021 2:55 pm

Women became the majority of the GP workforce for the first time in 2014.
Many male GPs now leave gynaecological presentations to their female colleagues (for legal reasons, resulting de-skilling, etc)
So and not remarkably, Ms Nadine Dorries comments ‘Don’t be fobbed off. …because he must be right and he knows what he’s talking about…’ is an ill-informed and sexist rant.

Thomas Robinson 11 June, 2021 3:08 pm

:if your GP isn’t referring you on for consultant treatment, then ask for it, demand it, because it is your right to do so.”

Not my field, though the utter inefficient disorganisation of the service, is I believe is of interest to most taxpayers. This is the sort of inefficient muddle you are paying for.

Ms Dorries does not believe what she is saying, we know she doesn’t, and she knows that we know that she knows she doesn’t.

If she had any intention of actually addressing this issue, and of course she does not, make gynae pelvic pain direst access.Like std , family planning clinics, casualty etc.

John Graham Munro 11 June, 2021 3:36 pm

To take the pressure off the only female G.P.—I told reception to send ”gynae problems” to me—–then I was inundated——women don’t like women doctors see

Decorum Est 11 June, 2021 7:51 pm

Female GPs are much more empathetic to patients who suffer more disharmony than themselves.

James Cuthbertson 11 June, 2021 10:20 pm

Because no harm has ever come from being referred to secondary care……

A early retirement 2021 12 June, 2021 9:27 am

this is a statement made by some one who has never worked as a GP, and barely worked in the nhs. if they did they would know the diagnosis treatments for endometriosis come with significant risks and require considerably counselling, all of which is almost impossible in a 10 minute consultation. you want better then provide longer consult times and more staff to cover the workload.

John Graham Munro 12 June, 2021 9:38 am

Decorum Est——-That’s the theory

Chris GP 13 June, 2021 7:59 pm

errrr – hang on…..from GP notebook……
SRIs as an alternative to HRT – general principles
(4)
in general baseline effectiveness 20-50%
class effect of SSRIs are of antidepressant benefit and improved quality of life
NICE suggest that a clinican should consider CBT to alleviate low mood or anxiety that arise as a result of the menopause

Patrufini Duffy 14 June, 2021 2:59 pm

Funniest article for some time. Thank you Nadine. We all needed that.

David jenkins 23 June, 2021 4:00 pm

that’s a right laugh – a SEN telling women to demand their gp “does something” – considering the number of women gp’s they have a choice of !!