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.’