Today, ahead of World Menopause Day, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause (the APPG), chaired by leading parliamentary campaigner Carolyn Harris MP, publishes 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 today 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;

The APPG hopes that though this report and its wider campaigning efforts, the support for those going through the menopause will be vastly improved, and younger women, girls, and the rest of the population will not grow up in ignorance of what the menopause is.

The MPs are grateful to all those who have taken the time to participate in the inquiry, and hope the Department for Health and Social Care will act upon these recommendations to improve the situation for those experiencing the menopause but also for the benefit of wider society, productivity and the economy.

Carolyn Harris, Chair of the APPG on Menopause, said:

“We are beginning to feel the tide of change but the taboo around the menopause still prevails in all corners of society – in workplaces, within families and among friends, in education, and in the medical profession. Access to HRT remains a postcode lottery for women in the UK and there is a stark divide between those who can afford to seek treatment elsewhere, and those who cannot.

The consequences for those suffering with menopause symptoms who can’t get the right treatment can be severe – leading to the break down of personal relationships and jeopardising careers, with women being forced to take additional days off or leave work all together, putting their financial situations at risk.

Whilst the development of a Women’s Health Strategy was an opportunity to revolutionise access to menopause support and treatment for all, in its current form it has failed to address the multiple issues that women in the UK are facing. Change is vital and we urge the new Minister and Government to give the menopause the attention it is due and take forward the recommendations in our report for the sake of women across the country.”

For details of the inquiry, please click here Inquiry – Menopause APPG (menopause-appg.co.uk)