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Everywoman health festival – education and help for women across generations

With delays in waiting times to see a specialist in pelvic floor problems ranging from 1-3 years across the UK and waiting times from initial presentation to undergoing surgery being as long as 7-10 years, women are struggling to access support. More recently UK government has reported that it takes an average of seven to eight years for women to receive a diagnosis of endometriosis, with 40% of women needing ten or more GP appointments before being referred to a specialist.

Gynaecological conditions on the elective pathway are often perceived as less urgent than their counterparts in other surgical specialties, resulting in women turning to other sources of help. A survey of more than 100,000 people from the Department of Health of Women’s health found that 71% of respondents relied on Google search and 69% on online search engines and blogs as a source of health information, even ahead of GPs and healthcare professionals.

Increasingly medical professionals on social media don’t wear white coats and so how do you identify them? Having the title Dr in the instagram name doesn’t mean that the person has a medical qualification. It can be difficult to know is someone is a health professional, a wellness guru or an expert patient who is on social media. There are an increasing number of people who have experienced a medical condition who have a significant social media following who start to give opinions on medical treatments online.

The Everywoman festival was set up by Julie Cornish, Colorectal Consultant Surgeon in 2023 aiming to challenge some of these issues. The idea came from listening to many women who had been struggling for years with symptoms, thinking they were normal and not knowing where to go for help.

By bringing together doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, dieticians, psychologists and other health professionals, the Everywoman festival is designed to educate, empower and support women and girls across a wide range of health conditions.

Following a successful first event in 2023, this year’s event in Cardiff, Insole court on Saturday 15th June is even bigger. Key topics this year include menopause, cancer survivorship, sexual health, IBS, endometriosis, mental health and many more.

“Information is key when it comes to health but it does depend on what people do with it and it needs to be evidence-based,” Julie Cornish, Colorectal consultant surgeon and founder of the Everywoman festival. “I think it is a positive step that health professionals are being active on social media as long as they are qualified and experienced health professionals who present the information in a factual way. While there are tips and educational resources on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, there is also an epidemic of misinformation and myths — particularly when it comes to women’s health.”

The Everywoman festival has 7 speaker areas; main tent, cancer &survivorship, thrive through sport, Guthut, living with chronic conditions, education tent and the arts area expecting to attract around 3000 people on the day. The event combines talks from health professionals and patient advocates, with more than 80 additional practical workshops, support groups, charities, music and art.

Tickets for the Everywoman festival are available here.

Adult entry tickets cost £20 and youth tickets £10, which include more than 60 speakers included in the event which starts at 10.30am and finishes at 6pm.