The All Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause (the APPG), chaired by leading parliamentary campaigner Carolyn Harris MP, has published its final report following a year-long inquiry into the subject.
The MPs findings demonstrate that widespread action is needed across all spheres to improve the situation for those going through the menopause, and the families, friends and colleagues affected by it.
Menopause symptoms can have a debilitating impact on the day-to-day lives of women. Whether from the inability to get the right diagnosis at the right time, difficulties in accessing HRT, a lack of support from their employer while struggling at work, or simply not being able to recognise what is happening to them and their bodies and seek help.
Despite the fact that 51% of the population will experience the menopause, the entrenched taboo around women’s health issues has meant that the support for the 13 million women currently going through peri-menopause or menopause is completely inadequate.
The APPG is particularly concerned about the socio-economic divide emerging between women who are able to access the right treatment, and those who lose out in the postcode lottery and do not have the financial means to seek treatment elsewhere.
The Group makes 13 recommendations for Government, NHS and other bodies to initiate change and dispel the long-held taboo around ‘the change’, including to:
- Urgently scrap prescription costs for HRT in England, as is the case in all the devolved nations.
- Implement a health check for all women at 45 to help diagnose menopause at an earlier stage.
- Fund new research into the real benefits of HRT and the link between menopause and serious health conditions.
- Co-ordinate an employer-led campaign and improve guidance to drive up support for menopause in the workplace;
- Create a National Formulary for HRT and include menopause in the GP Quality and Outcomes Framework to improve menopause diagnosis and treatment.
- Provide updated menopause training for GPs and other healthcare professionals who did not receive it in the past, in addition to the forthcoming medical assessment for incoming doctors.