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They also warn that an “entrenched taboo” around women’s health means current medical support is not good enough.
Even though half the population will experience the menopause, care and resources for those going through it is “completely inadequate”, say MPs.
The comments come from the all-party parliamentary group on menopause (APPG), who warn that more needs to be done urgently to help women going through perimenopause or the menopause.
Publishing its report after a year-long inquiry into the topic – and ahead of World Menopause Day – the APPG state that “widespread action is needed across all spheres”.
They also have listed 13 recommendations for the government, the NHS and other bodies, which include scrapping HRT prescription costs, introducing updated menopause training for GPs and medical professionals, plus making available a health check for all women aged 45.
It’s hoped that by introducing a free health check for all women at the age of 45 – similar to the way that cervical cancer smear tests are offered at the age of 25 – that it will help diagnose the menopause at an earlier stage.
Commenting on the launch of the report, Labour MP and chair of the APPG Carolyn Harris spoke of the “severe” consequences for those who don’t get access to the right treatment:
“We are beginning to feel the tide of change but the taboo around the menopause still prevails in all corners of society – in workplaces, within families and among friends, in education, and in the medical profession. Access to HRT remains a postcode lottery for women in the UK and there is a stark divide between those who can afford to seek treatment elsewhere, and those who cannot.”
“The consequences for those suffering with menopause symptoms who can’t get the right treatment can be severe – leading to the break down of personal relationships and jeopardising careers, with women being forced to take additional days off or leave work all together, putting their financial situations at risk.”
She also said that even though the Women’s Health Strategy (the first ever announced by the UK government) was an “opportunity to revolutionise” access to menopause support and treatment, it has currently “failed to address the multiple issues that women in the UK are facing.”
“Change is vital and we urge the new Minister and Government to give the menopause the attention it is due and take forward the recommendations in our report for the sake of women across the country,” she adds.
Here’s hoping that her words result in action and that the report will be the catalyst to implement real change when it comes to women’s healthcare.