Menopause task force gets go ahead in 'result for women across the country'

Carolyn Harris MP thanks colleagues from both sides of the House as the government announces changes to menopause support Credit: PA

A new task force is hoping to "revolutionise" the way women going through menopause are supported.

A new UK-wide strategy has been backed by Parliament at the second reading of Carolyn Harris MP’s private members’ bill. 

A government menopause task force will be set up and co-chaired by Mrs Harris and Minister for Women's Health, Maria Caulfield.

The group will consider the role education and training, workplace policies and peer groups can play in supporting women through what can be a mentally and physically challenging time. 

Symptoms of menopause can include hot flushes, heart palpitations, joint aches and memory loss. They can last between four and 12 years and a study showed 1/3 of women in Wales have considered quitting their job due to the menopause.

Mrs Harris said: “Today is a result for women across the country. The Bill was never about wins for either side of the political divide – it was about wins the 51% of the population who will directly experience the menopause. 

“The new task force will look at all the other areas of support which are currently falling short and failing women. 

“I look forward to working with the Minister to revolutionise menopause support in this country and being world leaders in changing the narrative on something that has been a taboo subject for far too long.”

What does this mean for women in Wales?

  • There will be a new government menopause task force, co-chaired by Minister for Women’s Health, Maria Caulfield and Carolyn Harris MP

  • This task force will consider various methods of support, including sharing best menopause practice in the workplace

  • There will be compulsory training on menopause in medical schools in England - which will have a knock-effect for patients in Wales treated by doctors trained in England-trained doctors.

The new law also sees England follow Wales and make hormone replacement therapy free on prescription.

To further improve access to HRT prescriptions, the government has also committed to look into combining two hormone treatments into one prescription, which affects approximately 10% of women accessing HRT.

Maria Caulfield said, “We have heard loud and clear from women across the country and MPs that menopause support is a key issue we as a government need to do more to address. 

 “As a woman and a nurse, I am acutely aware of how challenging the symptoms of the menopause can be to live with.

Maria Caulfield Credit: PA

“I look forward to further addressing the menopause as part of the Women’s Health Strategy and working with Carolyn on improving support for women across the UK.” 

Early analysis of the Women’s Health Strategy Call for Evidence, which received the biggest ever response to a Department for Health and Social Care consultation with more than 110,000 individual responses earlier this year, shows access to HRT and wider menopause support are key concerns for older women.

To further support women going through the menopause, the Civil Service is developing their first workplace menopause policy to ensure women can continue to work to their full potential.