'Carrie will hit menopause too': Penny Lancaster tells PM he'll regret not making HRT free

An MP praised the move as 'the right thing' in an emotional speech to the Commons but campaigners say there remains much, much more to do

Boris Johnson will be "regretting the day" he never gave women menopause treatment for free, former model Penny Lancaster has told ITV News.

The TV personality today welcomed the government's move to cut the cost of repeat prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in England, but asked: "Why not just give it to women for free?"

Ms Lancaster was among dozens of women, including Davina McCall and Mariella Frostrup, who attended a protest outside Parliament, calling on the government to provide free menopause treatment.

Penny Lancaster tells Boris Johnson to make HRT prescriptions free

The campaigners won a small victory over the government - after it listened to Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who tabled the Menopause (Support and Services) Bill. Women could now save up to £205 per year as a result of the move.

But Ms Lancaster said the support "[doesn't] go far enough".

"Boris's wife isn't old enough yet, but she'll get there and he'll be regretting the day that he never gave women HRT free prescriptions because it benefits not just women but the whole family," she said.

"There are many marriages falling apart, women are having to give up careers because of the symptoms, doctors are needlessly giving women antidepressants - that's a cost in itself, so why not just give women the treatment they need, and why should they have to pay for it?"

Mariella Frostrup, MP Carolyn Harris, Penny Lancaster and Davina McCall joined protesters outside the Houses of Parliament. Credit: PA

Fighting back tears, she spoke of her own difficult ongoing experiences, telling ITV News "it's kind of hard to talk about."

"I'm getting there, I've been on treatment for two months now, but it just breaks my heart that there are so many who are suffering."

She added: "Sometimes I bawl my eyes out and I've got no reason to cry and then I feel guilty for crying because I live a very privileged life, I have no reason to be upset and crying.

"I'm not feeling sorry for myself, I don't expect people to feel sorry for me, this is just a women's issue that needs to be talked about."

'I was really pleased that we were able to act today... Carolyn Harris, I'd like to pay tribute to what she's done': Sajid Javid hails the move to cut the cost of repeat prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy

Labour MP Ms Harris said she was “really, really pleased” with the move.

She said: “It’s only the beginning, there’s a long way to go but we’ve made a huge step forward today for women.

“It was the right thing to do and we know that women from now on will be taken seriously and that the menopause will not be something that we’ll hide under the carpet any longer.”

Ms Harris said her own experience – it took her years to realise a deep depression was linked to the menopause – was “not that dissimilar to millions of other women”.

The MP withdrew her Bill following assurances from the government, including on prescription charges.

She said she also hopes to see improved workplace laws and better education for young people around the menopause.

Davina McCall, who wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the hashtag #MakeMenopauseMatter, also called for more education for healthcare professionals.

She highlighted a lack of medical knowledge in her Channel 4 documentary Sex, Myths And The Menopause, in which she also discussed taking HRT.

Davina McCall hailed the announcement Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

She welcomed the Government’s announcement, calling it a “very positive outcome”.

She said: “The great thing about this is that it isn’t a political matter, this is a women’s matter and today everybody came together to make the happen.

“Women and men, male and female politicians from all parties came together and made a promise.”

McCall told the cheering crowd: “It’s not just menopausal women, it’s for our daughters… for our grannies who didn’t have any support at all.”

She said she would celebrate with a “cup of tea and a chat with a lot of very menopausal women”.