Carolyn Harris MP secures menopause support improvements
You may have seen Dr Louise Newson and many others, including Davina McCall, were celebrating outside Parliament on the news, on Friday 29th October, and wondered what it was all about. Here is a summary of the background and outcome of the second reading of Carolyn Harris MP’s private members Bill, Menopause (Support and Services).
Carolyn Harris is the Labour MP for Swansea East and back in June 2021 she used her private members Bill hearing to champion for free HRT in England (as it already is in Wales and Scotland) and for greater awareness and education for doctors at medical school, and once they are GPs, across all of the UK. The second reading happened on the 29th October and was met with cross-party support, giving the ‘go-ahead’ for the changes Carolyn was fighting for.
Here are the key actions that are approved in the Menopause (Support and Services) Act 2021:
If you live in England and have HRT on a repeat prescription that is a stable and ongoing plan, you should only have to have it prescribed once a year. This currently means paying £9.35 one time, and then nothing more for another 12 months, if things stay the same. You could save over £200 a year, if you have been having to pay for your HRT to be prescribed every 2-3 months.
Many of you who take estrogen and progesterone are having to pay this charge twice (once for each hormone) and the government will now look to combine the cost into one charge for both estrogen and progesterone (or a progestogen).
NHS England are to review current practice and any barriers that prevent the NICE menopause guidelines from being implemented across England.
A new government Menopause Taskforce is to be created and co-chaired by Minister for Women’s Health, Maria Caulfield and Carolyn Harris MP. The taskforce will look to enhance the roles education and training, workplace policies and peer groups can play in supporting women through the perimenopause and menopause. This is a cross-party taskforce that will work across all of the UK.
Alongside the taskforce will be the first ever Women’s Health Strategy for England, following the call for evidence earlier this year that Balance contributed to. The response to this consultation was the largest ever seen by the Department for Health and Social Care and clearly demonstrated that menopause education and support is an immediate and national concern to women, and that current practice is falling far short of what is needed.
Balance founder, Dr Louise Newson is pleased to support the work of Carolyn Harris MP and others, to continue to fight for best-practice menopause support across the UK, for all that need it. You can listen to Louise and Carolyn chatting more about the ‘Menopause Revolution’ on the latest instalment of The Dr Louise Newson podcast, episode 123.