NHS England issues guidance for supporting menopausal women

NHS England has launched menopause guidance to help retain older women.

Menopause lettering. Women health concept in pink colors.


NHS England has published its first guidance on the menopause to give managers a better understanding of what menopause is and ensure they are better equipped to offer them the support they need.

The NHS says women between the ages of 45 and 54 alone make up a fifth of all NHS employees and so up to a fifth of the workforce could be experiencing menopausal symptoms. It adds that six out of 10 of those experiencing menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, brain fog and difficulty sleeping say it has a negative impact at work.

The guidance includes advice on HR aspects such as how to record menopause-related absence, as well as practical tips for line managers on the benefits of having regular health and wellbeing conversations with their teams, and it supports them to consider any reasonable adjustments they may want to implement to support colleagues who are experiencing menopause symptoms.

It has been developed in collaboration with a number of task and finish groups including external members such as NHS Employers and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, as well as colleagues from relevant teams within NHS England.

It will be reviewed regularly. In recent years a growing number of employers have developed similar guidance on the menopause as awareness of its impact on women has grown. A recent survey of 4,000 women aged 45 to 55 by the Fawcett Society and Channel 4 shows one in 10 women have left work because of symptoms of the menopause. Strategies to alleviate symptoms range from providing employees with fans or a location close to a window if possible and giving them breaks to recharge when dealing with menopausal symptoms to flexible working, including working from home.

NHS England says: “Good menopause care has both direct and indirect impacts on workforce retention, productivity, presenteeism and absenteeism. Ensuring staff get the support they need is an important part of retaining experienced talent and skills. Looking after our NHS people and supporting them is a critical priority.”

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