Nadine Dorries says women should stand up to doctors if unhappy with treatment

·2-min read
Nadine Dorries (PA)
Nadine Dorries (PA)

Nadine Dorries said women should demand different medical treatment if they are unhappy with how they are being looked after by medics.

The Health minister, who tackles safety of patients in care plus mental health and suicide prevention, said she was “very aware” of the inequalities women faced in the British healthcare system.

She said females faced unconscious bias, and that it has “always been an issue”.

Ms Dorries said on Wednesday: “I want women to be more confident and not to take no for an answer.

“And if you are still in pain and if you are not being taken seriously and if your GP is not referring you on for consultant treatment then ask for it - demand it - because it is your right to do so.”

Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Ms Dorries was asked by its presenter Emma Barnett if she thought the NHS was “sexist.”

Ms Dorries said: “I think sexist is a strong word to use, particularly about a system which has a predominate number of female doctors and nurses working within it.

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“But I think the system gets into the people who are working within the system - and they become part of that system - possibly sometimes unknowingly.”

She added that women often told her they had not been listened to when battling to get the right treatment for their conditions, and this problem had been raised in various reports and recommendations.

Ms Dorries said: “I think there has been unconscious biases against women since the beginning of time. I’m going back to the whole connection between hysterectomy and hysteria for example.”

Ms Dorries also discussed her own diagnosis of lupus - an autoimmune disease - on Women’s Hour. She said it took many years for her to get the correct diagonisis and answers for her symptoms.

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