GPs need mandatory menopause training and targeted communications around the HRT scheme, the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee has said.
The committee of MPs has recommended that the menopause is be given ‘more priority’ in initial training for GPs and a ‘mandatory aspect’ of continuing GP professional development.
The report on menopause and the workplace, published yesterday (28 July 2022), said: ‘We recommend that the Royal College of General Practitioners makes training on menopause a mandatory aspect of continuing professional development requirements for GPs.’
The MPs also recommended that until then, ‘all GP surgeries should ensure that at least one member of their clinical staff has received specific training around menopause’, with ‘a menopause specialist or specialist service in every Clinical Commissioning Group area by 2024’.
They said that the CQC should consider whether practices are ‘providing effective, evidence-led menopause care’ as part of their inspections.
On HRT prescriptions, they added: ‘We want to see a major public health campaign and targeted communications to GPs on changes to HRT prescriptions.’
The report said: ‘Over the next three months the Government should communicate widely to ensure GPs and patients know about both the current NICE guidelines permitting a 12-month prescription, and the forthcoming single-cost pre-payment certificate. This should include but not be limited to:
- writing to all GPs and community pharmacists to ensure they know about the new scheme
- communications (for example, posters) in GP surgeries, pharmacies and walk-in centres
- through the Gov.uk website and DHSC social media accounts’
Dr Nighat Arif, a GP and specialist in women’s health and family planning, said in her evidence there was ‘misogyny within medicine when it comes to women’s health’, which led to the ‘normalisation’ of women’s pain and menopause symptoms.
All new doctors will be required to complete mandatory women’s health training from 2024, under the Government’s first-ever Women’s Health strategy.
The DHSC suggested in December that GPs should have ‘compulsory training’ in women’s health, including the menopause.
However, GPs pointed out that ‘all GPs are trained in women’s health’ as part of their training.
And the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has given the green light for certain vaginal HRT tablets to be available over the counter without a GP prescription.