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Commit to menopause health checks on NHS from age 40, parliamentary group urges

Commit to menopause health checks on NHS from age 40, parliamentary group urges

Discussion of menopause should be included in NHS health checks for women over the age of 40, MPs have urged.

In a manifesto, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause said it should also be incentivised within the QOF or any future scheme to improve GP diagnosis treatment and care.

The group said there is a ‘deficit of knowledge and understanding amongst GPs’ when it comes to recognising and diagnosing menopause symptoms.

Incentives within primary care would encourage better understanding and help to alleviate the problem, they said, ensuring more timely access to treatment.

In addition there should be a national formulary for all types of HRT to ensure doctors and pharmacists ‘can prescribe any approved medicines’ supported by local prescribing guidance.

This would also help to tackle ongoing shortages of HRT products as well as addressing inequity and regional variation in the types of HRT patients are able to access, the manifesto said.

And there should be an evaluation of female-specific testosterone treatments for managing menopause symptoms with the medicines regulator seeking to license such products.

GPs are also ‘often reluctant to prescribe off-license’ and so in the absence of a specific product for women, there must be comprehensive guidance around safe dosages and the benefits of prescribing testosterone, it continues.

It is not the first time the group has proposed menopause health checks for women, who may not even realise they experiencing symptoms, with a report last year calling for a health checks at 45 years.

The latest call is for all political parties to commit to their manifesto before the next general election.

The Government’s Women’s Health Strategy, published last year, failed to address the complex and varied challenges that women face when going through menopause, the APPG said.

Carolyn Harris MP, chair of the APPG on Menopause said: ‘I’m proud of how far we’ve come since we launched the Menopause Revolution two years ago.

‘While there have been some major successes, such as the cut to HRT prescription costs, we still have many hurdles to tackle to ensure women suffering through menopause get the support they deserve.

‘Day-in-day-out I hear stories from women who can’t get a diagnosis from their GP, who can’t get HRT due to a lack of supply, who have left their jobs due to a lack of support, or who simply don’t know where to turn for help,’ she added.


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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Alexander Hamilton 19 October, 2023 12:45 pm

With respect, is it right to frame something nearly 100% of biological females will experience as a ‘diagnosis’?: “Day-in-day-out I hear stories from women who can’t get a diagnosis from their GP,”

I take the argument that there are a host of symptoms that could be termed a perimenopausal disorder, but might we as with other disorders require these to have symptoms and patients present accordingly in keeping with GMS? Rather than the suggestion of “health checks for women, who may not even realise they experiencing symptoms”.
If we are screening all biological females, potentially up to 15 years before they are symptomatic (once, twice, yearly??), are we not less available through opportunity cost at the time of actual symptomatic presentation for all patients, whether for perimenopause symptoms or any illness at all.

Other inevitable and dramatic physiological processes we don’t screen for or ‘diagnose’ include puberty, though nearly 100% of people experience it, and some with great distress. We rely on those symptomatic to seek help whether for HMB, PMT, PMDD, acne, anxiety etc.

The Locum 19 October, 2023 3:00 pm

There will need to be something for noctors to do in future when the target for 5000 GPs gets scrapped like HS2. UK NHS family physicians are being phased out and not replaced. Retire, leave, emigrate, CCT and flee etc.

Liam Topham 20 October, 2023 8:15 am

“reluctant to prescribe off-license”
there are some potentially irreversible side-effects of testosterone, so some caution, rather than reluctance, is probably justified
this group of MPs should perhaps stick to what they are good at

Andrew Jackson 20 October, 2023 8:35 am

everybody loves a ‘simple’ solution to a really complex problem, especially non clinicians