A BORDERS MSP has presented a policy paper about a debilitating condition to a Scottish Government minister.

Rachael Hamilton, the MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, published the policy paper today (Wednesday, April 17) about endometriosis in an effort to improve the options available to those living with the condition.

The paper, which was developed with the help of experts and local campaigners Tao McCready who created the charity Endo SOS and Becky Leigh, founder of The Big Yellow Force, was presented to Scottish Government Women's Health Minister Jenni Minto on Tuesday (April 16).

Ms McCready and Ms Leigh both wrote introductions to the policy paper, detailing how endometriosis has affected them and continues to impact on their lives.

Ms McCready was misdiagnosed for 17 years being officially being told she had endometriosis and adenomyosis.

In her introduction to the paper, she said: "Because I was left for 17 years with no answers, endometriosis affected my fertility. This breaks my heart and I struggle to speak about it, even now.

"At Endo SoS, we are working together for a better Scotland - but we cannot do that without the help of politicians.

"Scotland’s politicians have the power to change what has happened for generations.

"They can make sure the next generation doesn’t suffer in silence, like we have had to endure.

"It’s time politicians took action and really focused on women’s health. It’s time for change and together we can make a difference."

The average wait time for a diagnosis for endometriosis is eight years, despite it being a common condition, affecting one in 10 women and those assigned female at birth (AFAB).

In her introduction, Ms Leigh added: "To live with endometriosis doesn’t really feel like living at all. It’s surviving every day.

"It’s waking up and feeling immediate immense pain, that’s if it even allows you to get any sleep.

"Endometriosis is being betrayed by your own body, repeatedly and unpredictably.

"It means you cannot plan ahead, you cannot live a ‘normal life’, except you look completely normal to everyone, hiding every painful step behind a smile because it is easier than having to explain your misunderstood condition to almost everyone you meet.

"Endometriosis is not even being able to find a medical professional who can help, or that doesn’t dismiss you altogether for the average of eight years before diagnosis.

"Endometriosis is having no hope for relief, filling its victims with anxiety."

Ms Hamilton's paper includes 11 policy proposals for the Scottish Government to take forward, including:

  • Delivering a specialist endometriosis nurse and specialist clinic in every NHS board
  • Ensuring every endometriosis patient has an individual plan including mental health and nutritional support
  • Provide guidance to schools, colleges and universities on helping people with endometriosis

Ms Hamilton said: "I was inspired to produce this new policy paper after hearing heart-breaking stories from dozens of women across the Scottish Borders who have had their lives upturned by endometriosis.

"Hearing about the pain women like Tao McCready and Becky Leigh go through has brought tears to my eyes.

"This cruel illness has meant that some women have lost jobs, some have missed out on opportunities, some may not be able to have a family. It can cost them their health, their careers, their education and their relationships.

"My paper aims to improve treatment options and reduce diagnosis times for women with this horrific condition. It includes plans to increase awareness of this disease, which is surprisingly not well known even among some medical professionals.

"I am determined to help these women any way I can. I hope the Scottish Government will seriously consider these proposals and deliver the urgent action that people suffering from endometriosis deserve."

For more information on the support offered by Endo SOS, visit: endosos.org

And for information on the work The Big Yellow Force does, visit: www.thebigyellowforce.com