Information about long covid, including guidance and services for long covid patients, statistics and the impact of long covid on healthcare, employment and education.
Further background on menopause can be found in the Commons Library briefing for World Menopause Day published in October 2022:
There was also a Westminster Hall debate marking World Menopause Day on 27 October 2022.
World Menopause Day takes place on 18 October each year.
Government action over the last year
The Government and NHS have announced a number of measures to improve menopause care. Further details are set out in the Library’s October 2022 briefing for World Menopause Day – with more recent developments set out below:
In July 2023, marking one year from the publication of the Women’s Health Strategy, the Government announced a number of measures to improve the health of women and girls (more information on these can be found in the Government press release the Women’s Health Strategy turns one (22 July 2023)). This included the launch of a women’s health area on the NHS website, including content on menopause and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It sits alongside a new HRT hub on the site.
On 8 March 2023 the Government announced it would be rolling out women’s health hubs across England, which will provide essential services for areas of care including menstrual problems, contraception and the menopause. The Government announced a £25 million investment over the next two years to accelerate the development of women’s health hubs.
Also in March, the Government appointed Helen Tomlinson as the first ever Menopause Employment Champion. The Menopause Employment Champion role is intended to drive awareness of issues surrounding the menopause. On 18 October 2023 the Department for Work and Pensions published No Time to Step Back: the government’s Menopause Employment Champion. This report sets out guidance for employers to create a more supportive environment to help women experiencing menopause stay in work and progress.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
HRT helps to relieve symptoms by replacing oestrogen levels that naturally fall during the menopause and offers protection against bone loss and fractures.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on Menopause: diagnosis and management recommends a range of treatment options for menopausal symptoms. HRT is included in the range of treatment options recommended and is the most commonly prescribed treatment.
NICE recommends that HRT is safe and effective for most women. The current NICE guidance advises clinicians to explain to women that, although combined hormone (oestrogen and progestogen) HRT “can be associated with an increase in the risk of breast cancer”, oestrogen-only HRT “is associated with little or no change” in risk. The guidance also says the increased risk is related to the duration of treatment and reduces after stopping HRT.
Following a high-profile campaign, the Government introduced a new HRT prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) on 1 April 2023. This will reduce prescription costs for HRT items in England to a total of £19.30 per year and can be used against a list of eligible HRT items (all NHS prescriptions are free of charge in the rest of the UK).
Concerns have been raised about UK-wide shortages of some HRT products. A Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) press notice, issued on 20 May 2023, also outlines actions the Government is taking to address supply issues. The charity, British Menopause Society provides regular updates on the supply of HRT products and information on choosing alternative products in the event of shortages (the most recent update is from 2 October 2023).
Recent parliamentary activity
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Menopause published a Manifesto for Menopause (PDF) in October 2023, calling on all political parties to commit to the following seven reforms ahead of the next General Election:
- Menopause Health Check at age 40
- National Formulary for HRT
- Incentivising GP menopause diagnosis
- Mandated menopause action plans in large companies
- Licensing of female-specific testosterone
- More funding for menopause research
- Review and improve specialist care provision
The Women and Equalities Select Committee has an ongoing inquiry into women’s reproductive health. Further information can be found on the Committee’s webpage on Women’s reproductive health.
In January 2023 the Government responded to the Committee’s menopause and the workplace report, which was published on 28 July 2022:
- Menopause and the workplace: Government Response to the Committee’s First Report of Session 2022–2023 – Women and Equalities Committee (18 January 2023)
On 20 June 2023 the Women and Equalities Committee held an oral evidence session with the Women’s and Health Minister Maria Caulfield MP and Work and Pensions Minister Mims Davies MP, in a session following-up on the Government’s response to the menopause and the workplace report:
Information on funding for menopause research can be found in this PQ response:
- PQ 110882 [on Menopause: Research], 21 December 2022
This briefing covers the NHS workforce in England, including key targets, recruitment and retention issues, workforce planning and Government policy.
Strikes have been taking place across the NHS in England. This briefing looks at when and why some NHS workers are striking and explains the latest pay deals.