5 April 2024

Southeast NSW women's health clinic marks six months of offering care and education

| Claire Sams
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Specialist Womens Health CNC Susan Wilford

Specialist Womens Health CNC Susan Wilford said women “want to be listened to and supported” when dealing with endometriosis or similar health struggles. Photo: COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN.

A multidisciplinary women’s health clinic has marked six months since it began offering care to women from across southeast NSW.

The South Eastern NSW Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Clinic is located within the Milton Medical Centre in the Shoalhaven and accepts patients from across southeast NSW through a GP referral or self-referral.

CEO of COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN Prudence Buist said she was glad to see the uptake of the service.

“We are delighted with the Milton team’s success in improving the provision of diagnosis, treatment and management of endometriosis and pelvic pain for women in southeastern NSW,” she said.

“The Milton clinic is one of seven in New South Wales and one of 22 across Australia funded by the Australian Government.

“We are committed to promoting the service so more women can access care and support they need, free of charge.”

The practice accepts patients from Helensburgh down to the Victorian border, across to the Snowy Mountains region and up to Goulburn.

Doctor Katie Macartney is a GP at Milton Medical Centre and member of the clinic’s team.

“I didn’t expect to see so many people and for it to have such a large effect on people’s lives,” Dr Macartney said.

“I also didn’t anticipate how much I would enjoy providing the service.

“Women seem to appreciate both the clinical care in the clinic as well as the education program.”

Patients have sought care for a range of conditions including vulvodynia, fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome, dyspareunia, endometriosis, prolapse, irritable bowel, urinary problems, as well as mental health conditions, migraines and back pain.

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The clinic’s education program runs for 10 weeks with either in-person or online attendance through Microsoft Teams.

The first five weeks entails sessions with a psychologist, clinical psychosexual therapist, a nutritionist, a pelvic floor physiotherapist, and a gynaecologist who specialises in endometriosis and fertility treatment, while the final five weeks are yoga and meditation sessions.

Once the program is completed, a summary is shared with the patient’s regular GP.

Ms Susan Wilford, Specialist Womens Health CNC for the service, said they had supported more than 100 patients aged between 13 and 83 with treatment and educational services.

“Women mostly want to be listened to and supported and given some education regarding treatment options and management plans,” she said.

“Some choose to travel here because they prefer face-to-face care, but most women who live more than an hour away are choosing to access our help via telehealth.”

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In the future, there are plans for the South Eastern NSW Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Clinic to offer more education programs for health professionals and community, in an expansion of their previous program for health professionals with a clinical psychosexual therapist and sessions with local public high school students.

“I really hope that more women realise we are here and can access the care and support we provide,” Ms Wilford said.

“The initial appointment and any follow up appointments with myself or with our GP are free, thanks to the government grant. The education sessions are also free of charge.”

South Eastern NSW Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Clinic is located within the Milton Medical Centre, at 131-135 Princes Highway in Milton.

The clinic is accessible by GP referral or self-referral to the service, with patients able to book appointments by emailing [email protected] or by calling 02 4455 5755.

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