NHS staff struggling with the menopause need evidence-based treatment as well as flexible working options
Newson Health responds to new NHS England menopause guidance for staff
We are dismayed that new NHS England guidance issued this week designed to help line managers and employers to support menopausal staff makes no mention of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the evidence-based, first line treatment for menopausal symptoms.
Flexible working options, cooler uniforms and desk fans are all very well, but these measures will not tackle more common symptoms such as low mood, fatigue, memory problems, brain fog and vaginal dryness.
We need education in the workplace to include information about available treatments, in order for menopause staff to make an informed decision.
If the health service is to retain the valuable skills and experience of menopausal staff, then employees need help more than ever given the current pressures.
Newson Health research presented last month at the International Menopause Society conference found healthcare staff are considering changing their hours or even quitting as they struggle to cope with menopause symptoms in the workplace.
Our poll of more than 1,000 NHS and independent healthcare sector staff found women with predominantly cognitive or mood-related symptoms were 63% more likely to report a significant negative impact on their working lives, compared to women whose symptoms were exclusively physical.
Yet almost half (45%) of those surveyed had been unable to reduce their working hours, either due to employer inflexibility or financial constraints. Some 48% had considered quitting their job as a result.
Staff are the backbone of our health and social care system, and they deserve to be supported.