27 March 2017

GPs Will Always Take Womens’ Health Conditions Seriously, Says RCGP

Responding to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health’s ‘Informed Choice Evidence Report’ published today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“Women’s health constitutes around a quarter of a GP’s workload; we know that both endometriosis and fibroids can cause women considerable pain and distress, and these are both conditions that GPs and our teams are aware of and take seriously.

"In the case of endometriosis – the main focus of this report today – although this is a common gynaecological condition, it cannot be diagnosed in primary care as it requires a surgical procedure that must be conducted in secondary care. GPs often find themselves in an incredibly difficult position as the symptoms are so broad, and some are similar to other conditions, and so can only refer if they are sure endometriosis might be the underlying cause, or else secondary care would be unable to cope with demand.

“It is regrettable that so many women in this paper have reported a negative experience in obtaining a diagnosis – but the sample is small, and the report itself recognises that it is unlikely to be representative of all women’s experiences. Nevertheless, all of our patients should be treated with dignity and respect, and we would like them to be assured that whatever their symptoms, and whatever their condition, their GP will always take their condition seriously – and consider any physical, psychological and social factors affecting their health when formulating a treatment plan.

“Women’s health is a key part of the RCGP curriculum which all GPs must demonstrate competence of in order to practise independently in the UK – and both endometriosis and fibroids are covered in the exams that GP trainees must pass in order to attain MRCGP.

“The College has recognised women’s health as a clinical priority over the next 12 months and will shortly embark on a programme of work to develop resources to support GPs and our teams in the identification and treatment of women’s health issues. We look forward to working with a number of organisations, including the WHAPPG and other medical royal colleges, to inform this project.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659


The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 50,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.