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.
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.