A new taskforce on the menopause is to be set up as a Private Members’ Bill was debated in Parliament and cuts to HRT costs were announced.
A new cross-government Menopause Taskforce is to be established which will look at workplace menopause policies and other issues.
The taskforce will be co-chaired by the Minister for Women’s Health and Carolyn Harris MP, whose Private Members’ Bill on the menopause was debate in Parliament today. It will consider the role of education and training, workplace policies and peer groups for menopausal women can play in supporting women through the menopause.
The Government also announced that women will benefit from cheaper and easier access to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). It said it would look to implement longer prescribing cycles so women receive fewer prescriptions, reducing the need to pay frequent prescription charges. The Government has also committed to look into combining two hormone treatments into one prescription. Under current rules HRT is sometimes classed as two medicines if it contains both Oestrogen and Progesterone, meaning women may be charged twice for one course of treatment.
Menopause will also form a central part of a government-led Women’s Health Strategy.
Carolyn Harris said: “Today is a result for women across the country. The Bill was never about wins for either side of the political divide – it was about wins the 51% of the population who will directly experience the menopause.
“The cost of HRT NHS prescriptions will be slashed – with the Government committing to working towards getting this down to a single prescription charge per year – and the new task force will look at all the other areas of support which are currently falling short and failing women.
“I look forward to working with the Minister to revolutionise menopause support in this country and being world leaders in changing the narrative on something that has been a taboo subject for far too long.”
In the debate in Parliament there were passionate speeches in favour of menopause support. Labour MP Liz Kendall spoke of her own experiences of acute anxiety, brain fog, sleeplessness and night sweats and of the terrible toll it can take on women in the workplace. She said it was not a private issue, but “a mainstream workplace issue that must be addressed”. “Let’s make women wonderful again,” she stated.
The Government also announced that the Civil Service is developing their first workplace menopause policy to ensure women can continue to work to their full potential.