Endometriosis is the condition where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body. Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb. Cells are building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape. It is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods. It may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems. Endometriosis can affect any woman, at any age. Around 1.5 million women in the UK are currently living with the condition. In the UK, a correct diagnosis of endometriosis can take up to 8 – 10 years. The reason for such a long diagnostic is numerous visits to GPs and medical professionals required.
Are you suffering from Endometriosis or suspect that you are?
Endometriosis regularly affects your daily life – due to the chronic and unbearable pain that it causes. Sometimes it is very difficult to live with endometriosis. It is a debilitating, isolating and restrictive condition – resulting in a negative impact on your mental health and wellbeing, career and/or education. Diagnosis is the first step to finding a solution to this debilitating condition; unfortunately, this can take a considerable amount of time through the NHS.
Furthermore, the process of diagnosing Endometriosis and receiving treatment is even more difficult through the NHS due to the pandemic situation in the UK, every NHS hospital in the UK has now suspended or delayed all non-urgent elective operations. In addition to this, other medical services like specialist visits and scans, x-ray or MRI are under strain and in many cases unavailable. The NHS has asked many patients to wait a further 6-12 months in addition to existing treatment delays. A second lockdown in the UK has further increased waiting times within the NHS, there is now a severe back-log of patients awaiting consultation let alone actually receiving the treatment they need. As of July 2020, there are over 162 888 patients waiting over a year to receive treatment – in contrast, this was only 1 032 in July 2019.
Should you go abroad for the diagnosis and treatment of the condition?
The pandemic and subsequent restrictions in the UK have impacted time when even private hospitals can provide services. In England, you will still be required to wait some time, even if you decide to receive treatment as a private patient, as Private hospitals/companies have a formal agreement with the UK government to offer their facilities to support with Covid-19, as needed by the government, as a priority.
Waiting for an important diagnosis such as Endometriosis, due to its regular and disruptive symptoms to daily life, is not an option. Whereas you can receive the medical consultation that you require in Spain, at the Quirónsalud Madrid University Hospital. They are the largest hospital group in Spain and have earned international prestige for their work in diagnosing and treating gynaecological conditions, cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurological illnesses, as well as orthopaedic, ophthalmologicol and paediatric conditions. Furthermore, patients receive a completely personalised treatment from an expert and experienced team; from the initial consultation until discharge.
Although travel is limited due to the global pandemic, as you would be travelling due to a medical need you would be granted a travel exemption.
There where people with endometriosis travelling abroad, even during the first national lockdown in April. The ability to cross borders would be only allowed with special permits gained from the specific embassies. Endometriosis, on this occasion, did unfortunately spread to several organs and limited the patient’s ability to urinate on top of the other issues brought about by endometriosis. The patient did visit A&E due to unbearable pain on two occasions and on both times was sent home. Travelling abroad was the only option she had left. How long you would be able to wait and is it worth it?
What does the procedure involve? Who will conduct my procedure? Is it Covid-19 secure?
Quirónsalud has effectively and successfully adapted their facilities quickly and expertly to the changing situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The hospital has created a Covid secure environment using the latest thermal imaging cameras. Cameras are using an infra-red ray system, which allows people with a fever to be detected automatically.
As well as this, they use multiple one-way systems within their hospital in order that they are still able to equally attend to urgent cases and patients whose care has not been interrupted. These one-way systems are rigorously monitored and disinfected routinely.
Furthermore, they employ a pioneering disinfection system which uses cold aerosolization systems, capable of generating a mist consisting of 1 billion micro-drops of disinfectant, dissolved in water and using air as a driving force; in conjunction with this ultraviolet C and UVC disinfection technology is used, therefore ensuring a thorough and deep cleaning process throughout.
In addition to the above protocols, patients can expect ‘Telemedicine’ where consultations are conducted via video call, conference call and chat and can be reassured of the continued expertise and individualised diagnosis from the medical personnel who they are in contact with.
Andometriosis specialist Dr Sáinz de la Cuesta
Dr Sáinz de la Cuesta, who is American Board Certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology will be one of the doctors who can provide laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis. Dr Sáinz de la Cuesta is trained in complex surgical procedures related to pelvic tumours: these include gynaecological, urological, gastrointestinal and reconstructive surgeries.
Endometriosis is a benign but very destructive disease that can be located throughout the peritoneal cavity, including the ovaries, rectovaginal septum, intestinal serosa, appendix and umbilicus.
In advanced cases, endometriotic implants can produce severe adhesions, including bowel and/or ureteral obstructions. It is, therefore, of vital importance to have an expert in all these procedures when operating in order to ensure the best results. Dr. Sáinz de la Cuesta, and his team, can perform these interventions using laparoscopic, Robotic or open surgery. The choice will depend on each individual case.
The post-operative hospital stay will depend on the individualized surgical approach. It is approximately 1-2 days for laparoscopic or Robotic surgery and 3-4 days for laparotomy. The total cost will also depend on the surgical approach and the severity of the condition.
Who are Quirónsalud?
Quirónsalud is the largest hospital group in Spain. Following a merger with the German company, Fresenius-Helios, are now the largest hospital group in Europe. Quirónsalud covers all medical specialties, having earned national and international prestige for its work. Diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurological illnesses, as well as orthopaedic, ophthalmologic, paediatric and gynaecological conditions are only some you can receive in Quirónsalud. Furthermore, their network has over 125 care centres, of which 50 are general hospitals and 7 are university hospitals including in popular locations like Madrid, Barcelona, A Coruna, Sevilla, Malaga, Marbella, Murcia, Tenerife, Torrevieja and Valencia. Internationally, they have centres in Dubai, Lisbon, Peru and Medellín (Colombia).
Covid-19 response in Quirónsalud hospitals:
Quirónsalud has responded rapidly, effectively and successfully to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic; they were the first group to carry out mass testing of their entire workforce of 40 000 employees.
To date around 15,000 COVID-19 patients have been admitted to the Group’s hospitals (1,400 in ICU beds). In the first weeks of the crisis, 1,400 additional beds were added, including 400 new ICU beds (doubling capacity) and 140 beds in a medicalized hotel. In addition, around 350 new respirators were incorporated (including 30 that were shipped from Germany). This was accomplished during a huge international shortage.
Additionally, almost 2,000 new staff were hired to respond to both the significantly increased number of patients and the possible sick leave cover needed. Nearly 250 volunteers from our centres travelled throughout Spain to support the most critical moments in Madrid and Barcelona.
Why choose Madrid, Spain for endometriosis diagnostic and treatment?
The Quirónsalud Madrid University Hospital has built an excellent reputation in private health care in the Community of Madrid. The hospital prides itself on having first-rate professionals, and delivering state-of-the-art technology and personalised care. Personalised care is at the heart of its three pillars that underpin its high expectations and standards. The hospital carries out important teaching and research work. The medical staff are involved in numerous clinical studies that bring the newest treatments and techniques to their patients.
How do I reclaim my medical expenses from the NHS?
It is possible to claim medical expenses for medical treatment from the NHS – however it can be a complicated process. As a taxpayer, you have already paid for your treatment. The rules on how to claim a refund from the NHS for treatment received in Spain are quite complex. If you don’t follow the correct procedures you will end up with a rejected refund application. In addition, rules and conditions of the NHS refund are different and depend on the area you live in. This is due to NHS England having a hundred different regional bodies, with their own rules and conditions. MedRefund can support you with this. More information on NHS refund for treatment in Spain.