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Volume 412: debated on Friday 11 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to improve training on the recognition and treatment of endometriosis; and where centres of excellence in endometriosis will be located. [107891]

We are determined to improve the awareness of endometriosis and training of general practitioners, as the first point of contact for women with this condition. Departmental officials are working with the National Endometriosis Society (NES) and the Simply Holistic Endometriosis (SHE) Trust to see if a robust application can be drawn up for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) to develop clinical guidelines on endometriosis for general practitioners. This is still at an early stage and there are many calls on the services of NICE as we take forward national health service reforms on a broad front.NICE is currently undertaking a referral practice project on advice to general practitioners about referring common conditions, the results of which may give us an effective way of offering referral guidance on endometriosis.

Specialist clinics that treat advanced cases of endometriosis have been developed locally in response to need rather than being organised nationally. Departmental officials have discussed issues around centres of excellence with the NES and other organisations and will continue working with them to see whether further work is appropriate.