Lives 'on hold' - waiting lists for gynaecology see massive increase

Ipswich Hospital/Colchester Hospital/West Suffolk Hospital. Picture: Archant

Ipswich Hospital/Colchester Hospital/West Suffolk Hospital. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Gynaecology waiting lists in Suffolk have increased by 60% in three years, data has shown. 

Data from the LCP Health Analytics shows that there are currently more than 2,600 patients waiting to receive care from Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups.  

This is compared to 2,300 in February of 2020, a rise of 13%. In February of 2019, that figure was 1,600 – a rise of more than 60%. 

Dr Angela Tillett is the chief medical officer at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Colchester and Ipswich hospitals. 

She said her teams are working “incredibly hard” to reduce the number of patients waiting for gynaecology treatment. 

She said: “We still have a waiting list to work through due to the NHS COVID-19 pandemic response, but at ESNEFT we have introduced additional clinic and theatre sessions, brought in locum support, and increased the number of staff who work across both sites at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals to tackle the backlog.” 

Hannah Earrey says she feels her life has been put 'on hold' as she waits for an operation for her stage four endometriosis.

Hannah Earrey says she feels her life has been put 'on hold' as she waits for an operation for her stage four endometriosis. - Credit: Hannah Earrey

Hannah Earrey, from Ipswich, is waiting to receive her third laparoscopy for stage four endometriosis from Colchester Hospital. 

She underwent her second laparoscopy in January of 2020, but says this only gave her “two or three” months of relief from the chronic pain and fatigue she suffers. 

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She says she feels that her life has been placed “on hold.” 

“I can’t stand long enough to have a proper shower and wash my hair,” said Hannah, 38. 

“For the past five days, I’ve just been going from my bed to the bathroom.” 

Hannah says her kitten, Costa, is a real source of comfort to her, as she struggles to leave her home.

Hannah says her kitten, Costa, is a real source of comfort to her, as she struggles to leave her home. - Credit: Hannah Earrey

Hannah’s pain is such that she struggles to leave her house at all, or even to sit in her garden, and relies on friends and family to go shopping.  

Her mental health has also deteriorated, as she still does not know when she will receive her operation. 

“My life has been on hold for two years now. I’m not being heard,” she said. 

“I long for the day when the phone rings, and they say: we’ve got a date. That would be the best gift ever.”