Claire O’Shea

Claire O’Shea

Women express disappointment at Welsh Government response to gynaecological cancer concerns

Published 15/05/2024   |   Last Updated 15/05/2024   |   Reading Time minutes

The Welsh Government’s ambition to improve women’s health care has been met with disappointment by women let down by gynaecological cancers services.

In response to a report by the Senedd’s Health and Social Care Committee, the Welsh Government claimed that “the vast majority of those receiving cancer care for gynaecological cancer consistently report high levels of patient satisfaction with NHS services.”

These remarks were met with surprise and disappointment by people who gave evidence to the Committee’s inquiry, who felt strongly that it does not represent their, or their families’, experience whose cancer concerns were repeatedly dismissed by professionals.

Deeply disappointed by the tone

Sioned Cash from Anglesey, whose mother, Judith Rowlands, passed away shortly after her evidence was shown to the Committee, said that the claims at the start of the Cabinet Secretary’s response “sets the tone for the rest of the report to be one which is quite dismissive of there being any issues.”

Claire O’Shea, from Cardiff, who has Uterine Leiomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer, was also sceptical of the Cabinet Secretary’s claims; “As a patient, at no point have I been asked about my satisfaction levels with the services I have received.”

Adding that she is “deeply disappointed by the tone (of the response) and the lack of concrete commitments to any transformative change that can meet the challenges and needs of women in Wales now and in the future.”

Welsh Government asked to reflect on the women's feedback

The report will be debated on the floor of the Senedd on Wednesday afternoon, 15 May, when the Cabinet Secretary, Eluned Morgan MS, will be called upon to elaborate on some of her responses and to reflect on the women’s feedback.

Russell George MS, Chair of the Senedd’s Health and Social Care Committee said:

“I hope the Cabinet Secretary will reflect on the women’s comments, and offer some reassurance to those who bravely shared their experiences with us. 

“There are several areas in the Welsh Government’s response which require further examination during this debate. The delay in delivering a Women’s Health Plan for Wales, the recovery of services disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the unacceptably high number of people diagnosed through emergency admissions at A&E are all concerning.

“Significantly, although the Cabinet Secretary accepted 24 of our report’s recommendations, either in full or in part, her response does not commit to any additional funding.

“Speaking personally, this hard-hitting inquiry has probably been one of the most emotional I have been involved with in my time as a Member. I would like to reiterate my thanks and gratitude to all the incredible women who helped us with our work.

“Each year, around 1,200 people are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer in Wales. Around 470 people die from gynaecological cancers in Wales every year, a rate higher than the UK average. I hope that our report will bring about the changes so desperately needed to improve the experiences of women in the future.”


More on this story 

Read about the report and the women's stories told to the inquiry Dismissed, downplayed and unheard: Women’s cancer concerns not taken seriously

Inquiry: Gynaecological cancers