‘If it impacted men support wouldn’t be so woeful’: Call for England to follow Wales’ lead on menopause treatment
A Welsh MP has pledged ‘a menopause revolution’ as she presented her Menopause Private Members Bill in the House of Commons – and announced the establishment of an All Party Parliamentary Group on the issue.
Following her success in the Private Members Bill Ballot, Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, will be allocated Parliamentary time for a debate on her Bill, with the goal that it will eventually pass into law.
A central plank of the Menopause (Support and Services) Bill will exempt Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) from NHS prescription charges in England, as is already the case in Wales and Scotland.
The Bill will also take in broader issues around menopause rights, entitlements and education, all of which will be explored in greater detail through the newly launched All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Menopause.
Carolyn Harris, will present the Bill in the House of Commons Chamber this afternoon.
She said: “For far too long, generation after generation of women have been let down, ignored or simply thrown on the scrap heap as a result of the menopause.
“Despite affecting more than half of the world’s population, menopause remains one of the last great taboos – badly funded and rarely discussed in public. It is also poorly understood: in the workplace, in society at large and far too often, even in the doctor’s surgery.
“It is clear that we need both a step change in attitudes, and a change in the law. This starts with the key plank of my Private Members Bill, which asks the NHS in England to follow the lead set in Wales and Scotland and exempt HRT from NHS prescription charges.
“But we know that its about far more than money – it’s also about attitude and education. That’s why our new APPG will be so important. This won’t be a talking shop – it will be a driving force for change. Our menopause inquiry will take in workplace policy, medical school training, public health messaging and school curriculums.
“If the menopause were an illness, or indeed a condition that impacted every man, it’s unlikely that financial support would be so woeful, or public understanding so negligible. Women have suffered long enough – I am determined to change that.”
Elizabeth Carr-Ellis, creator and co-founder of Pausitivity #KnowYourMenopause, said that it was “brilliant” to see some actions on the topic at last.
“For too long the needs of menopausal women have been ignored, overlooked or downplayed, leaving women suffering in silence and ignorance,” she said.
“It took me almost four years of going back and forth to the GP to get help and even then, it was my husband who finally realised all my symptoms were menopause. It has taken another three years to get my HRT right through lack of understanding from my GPs.
“Many women I know have given up with the NHS and paid privately, some into the thousands of pounds for help – money they can barely afford at times. That is why I am so happy to see Carolyn’s Bill enter into parliament so everyone will understand what menopause is and the impact it can have.”
Diane Danzebrink, founder Menopause Support and the #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign, said that improving menopause education, care and support for all women was vital.
“Far too many continue to needlessly suffer in silence and this has to stop,” she said.
“I am grateful to Carolyn Harris for keeping menopause on the parliamentary agenda and for her continued support of the aims of the #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign.”