Planned events for this year's awareness day include a Lobby of Parliament starting at noon. Your MP is more likely to meet you if several people from the constituency have written. There are pre-prepared postcards available from the organisers who would also like to know who is planning to attend so that arrangements can be made. The annual General Meeting of the Endo APPG is to be held at 4pm, again, please contact the organisers if you would like to attend.
Obviously, not everyone can attend the Lobby. If you still want your voice to be heard, you can write to your MP asking that they attend the APPG. Local events are planned across the country, so contact your local group or the NES or the SHE for more details.
The SHE Trust is again organising a petition, which you can download from their site, sign, pass around and send back.
The 4th July 2001 signified the first Endometriosis Awareness Day. Over 100 women and doctors lobbied Parliament, with the result of the formation of The All Party Parliamentary Group for Endometriosis Awareness. The APPG will be working toward the next Awareness Day on the 4th July, 2002 - so keep on writing, talking and emailing to keep the Awareness issue up!
The first meeting of the APPG was on 11th September. 34 MPs have already signed up, with a further 12 showing an interest. It is hoped that the APPG will meet bi-monthly. Those who have written to their MPs and received a disinterested reply can follow up with a visit to the MP's surgery.
In the UK alone, up to 2 million women suffer from endometriosis. It's more prevalent that asthma or diabetes - even though it can only affect half the population. It is the second most common gynaecological condition. It takes an average of seven years to get a diagnosis.
It is estimated that the average woman with endo misses 45 days a year due to endometriosis. This causes an estimated 2 billion loss to business. Based on the recent CBI report on sick leave, the annual loss to business is 10.7 billion. In other words 20% of sick leave is due to endometriosis. This is before the cost of hospitalisation, drugs or benefits.
The RCOG guidelines state that women "with severe endometriosis should only be treated at specialist centres". Following the closure of Prof. Garry's Middlesbrough WEL-clinic, there are no such centres!
So, what can we do to ensure the continuation of this service? Write to your MP, to the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt. Hon. Alan Milburn, or to the Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair. Write to your local radio, newspaper or television centre. Write to news or current affairs programmes. The only way to improve our lot is to ask for it, and demand that services are improved
How to Lobby your MP
To Lobby your MP is to request a meeting with them in the Houses of Parliament. Whilst there is no guarantee that they will come and speak with you, or be able to give you much time, Lobbying is the recognised and polite manner with which to arrange a meeting outside of surgery hours.
It is often best if you write to your MP, either directly to the House of Commons or via their Constituency Office, and request the meeting, rather than just turning up. Your introductory letter should be brief and about the subject you wish to discuss, giving personal examples where you feel necessary. Try to keep your letter to one side of A4 only, it is best to put your request for a meeting in the first paragraph and a few reasons why you want to meet them in the second paragraph. Always finish your letter by asking for an appointment at one of your MPs local advice surgeries if they are not be able to meet you on the day of the lobby.
You can find out who your MP is, and their contact details, by looking it up here and entering your PostCode, or by phoning the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272
Lobbying in the Houses of Parliament can take place between and . There will be a peaceful parade (or demonstration) outside St Stephens Entrance from to . Remember to bring placards and banners as we will be taking pictures for publicity purposes.
How to Lobby:
Use the Public Entrance at St. Stephen's Entrance. There is usually a queue at this entrance, but this is for the public to gain access to the viewing galleries in both Houses. As you have business in the Houses of Parliament, you need not join them.
Tell the policeman on duty that you are there to see your MP, and give him/her you MP's name.
Providing you have written to your MP prior to the visit, you should say that s/he is expecting you. If you have not written you can still request to meet him or her.
Proceed through security to Central Lobby. You will have been asked to switch off your mobile phones, and that no photography is allowed.
At the desk in Central Lobby, ask the attendant for a 'Green Card' and complete it in detail saying which MP you wish to see, and what you want to talk about. Please remember that you can only Lobby your own MP.
If your MP comes out to see you (and there is no guarantee that they will) you will have a short time to explain your position.
The message you give should be clear.
Follow this by giving personal examples.
Please remember to send us a copy of the letter that you write to your MP and a copy of his/her reply to you or send us a note describing how you felt your meeting went if you successfully Lobbied your MP. Remember to write and thank your MP for meeting you!