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'Severe' HMB sufferers turned away from primary care treatment

A third of women suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) received no treatment in primary care, a report shows.

This is despite 50% of the study participants being in “severe pain”.

Research published in the National HMB Audit led by the Royal College of Obsetericians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) found more than 70% of women with HMB had symptoms for over a year under the care of primary care health professionals before being referred to secondary care.

Furthermore, among those women aged over 50, 37% received no initial treatment before referral to secondary care.

The report found no variation in the proportion of women receiving treatment in primary care across different trusts or Health Boards in England and Wales.  

"[This] report finds that national guidelines and care pathways are not always being followed in relation to treatment at primary care level,” said Dr Tahir Mahmood, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, NHS Fife and Chair of the National HMB Audit. 

“There have been substantial changes in the management of HMB over the last 10 years, with women increasingly having access to a wider range of medical therapies as well as minimal access surgical procedures such as endometrial ablation.  These innovations have been incorporated into national clinical guidelines but more needs to be done to ensure they are being followed.”

Dr Mahmood said the Audit plans to next look at HMB sufferers' experiences in secondary care to ultimately make recommendations for improvements in patient care.

Over 16,000 questionnaires were completed in this second HWB Audit with the average age of participants being 44 years old.