We’re delighted that our Chair Jacqui Smith launched our Trust Menopause policy today (1 February).
The menopause has become a hot topic over recent months, as shown by NHS England Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard's interview in the Daily Telegraph on the launch the NHS's menopause guidance.
Having our own Trust specific policy, supplemented by the national one, marks another milestone in how we support women going through perimenopause (leading up to menopause) and the menopause itself. Importantly it includes educating colleagues so they are better able to support people in their teams, and they may also benefit from a better understanding if they have a partner going through it.
Recently we set up a group for women to come along and chat about their own experiences, and learn from experts, for example, about HRT (hormone therapy replacement); menopause can now be noted as official reason for absence; and we have a resource hub full of useful information. There’s still a lot more to do, however, today marks another step forward in breaking the taboo and opening up the conversation.
More than 70 per cent of our workforce is made up of women. Many will be significantly impacted, with symptoms such as joint pains, anxiety, insomnia, and problems with concentration and memory, potentially lasting years for some. These symptoms can be very debilitating; research has shown that 10 per cent of women leave their jobs and many more reduce their hours or pass up promotions.
Ultimately we want to care for our staff so they can care for our patients, and we want them to thrive when they come to work – with the right support in place menopause shouldn’t be a reason not to be able to do that.