EMMA HAYES has called for greater investment in gynaecological healthcare for women after undergoing an emergency hysterectomy.
And the Chelsea boss, 45, hit out at the lengthy waiting time facing those seeking appointments for gynaecological concerns.
Emma Hayes will be back on the touchline for Chelsea when they play Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on SundayGetty
GettyChelsea assistant Denise Reddy and Blues general manager Paul Green have been overseeing the team during Hayes’ recovery from an emergency hysterectomy[/caption]
Hayes, whose team face Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, has been absent from the dugout for Chelsea for the past six weeks after undergoing an emergency hysterectomy.
The surgery followed her “ongoing battle with endometriosis”.
The condition leads to tissue similar to that contained in the lining of the womb growing in other parts of the body.
The Chelsea chief said: “I had six weeks of recovery and I’m still recovering.
“I still think it will take probably through the rest of this year to return to complete normality.
“But I’m just grateful to feel a lot better and happy to come into a team that’s been doing really well in my absence and just to be around the players and staff again.”
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Up to 1.5 million women in the United Kingdom are living with endometriosis, a gynaecological condition, which can cause chronic back and pelvic pain amongst other symptoms.
According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists more than 570,000 people are on the waiting list for a gynaecology appointment.
And in England, the number of women waiting over a year for care has risen from 66 before the Covid pandemic to nearly 25 000.
Hayes added: “What I realised in all of this period is that my privilege took my pain away.
“I have health insurance. But my pain and suffering was no different to anybody else’s.
“Whether it be my 18-year-old niece who suffers from ‘period problems’ to younger women who struggle with endometriosis or polycystic ovaries, there are half a million women sat on a waiting list for a prolonged period to see a gynaecologist.
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“I don’t think it’s acceptable.
“I was completely unaware that my own pain was as bad as it was.
“I was just getting on, being told that maybe it was period pains,
“What I realised is that we do have enough gynaecologists, trained at least, but there are not enough jobs for them. Why?
“We need to do more and do better and I decided that (to be open about my condition), rather than just say I’m unwell
“It might be uncomfortable for some, who think I should keep that private.
“But I have learned through my own struggles how little knowledge some women have from puberty to menopause (on this issue) and if I can champion that then, why not?”
PAHayes praised the work of Reddy and Paul Green (pictured) with Chelsea winning six games across all competitions during her absence[/caption]
“Some days I was in agony going to work.
“It wasn’t until I had this time to recover that I realised ‘oh my god I’ve been so ill for so long, how many other people are going through this?’
“I’ve had so many people write to me that are either on a waiting list for a hysterectomy, or young people that keep getting dismissed and being told it’s their periods, or people’s partners struggling unable to help.”
Aside from focusing on her recovery, Hayes has been looking ahead to her return to the dugout for the first time since the Blues’ 3-1 defeat of West Ham on September 28.
The Blues will oversee her side when they look to beat Spurs for the sixth time in top tier.
A sell-out crowd of more than 40,000 are expected to watch Chelsea take on their rivals in their first match at the Stamford since their 1-0 defeat of Tottenham in September 2019.
Back then a Bethany England rocket shot gave her team victory over their London derby opponents who are currently fifth in the table,
Bethany England netted Chelsea’s match-winning goal when they last played Spurs at Stamford Bridge in 2019Getty Images – Getty
The Blues chief added: “I was telling my doctors that (my first game back) would be in front of 40,000. I’m about ready for that!
“I think the club have done so well to be able to sell out — as many clubs have done in the WSL.
“I’m just really looking forward to seeing the fans and being with my team again. There’s no better place to play than Stamford Bridge.”
The match will see former Blues star and stalwart Drew Spence go up against her old club and boss for the first time since her summer move to Tottenham.
And the Jamaica midfielder, who made 220 Chelsea appearances from 2008 to 2022, has netted three goals in five WSL appearances for her new club
Hayes joked: “Of course, I want Drew to be on the losing team,
AlamyDrew Spence could be set to face Chelsea for the first time since leaving the club to join Tottenham in June this year[/caption]
“When I think about Drew, I just have pride because she is a huge part of what’s made this team successful and yes, she’s playing for the opponent
“But I’m just proud of her and I think she’s having an amazing season.
“She’s been really impactful for them and just look forward to giving her a hug and saying ‘hi’.”