Thank you for contacting me about the #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign.
I agree that raising awareness of menopause and its signs and symptoms is important. PSHE and Biology curriculums cover puberty in detail, but do not address the menopause stage to a similar level, however I am aware that relationship education is now compulsory in schools which includes menopause in the curriculum. I know that the National Institute for Health and Care Guidance published guidelines in 2015 about support and treatment for the often debilitating symptoms women suffer, but I agree that more can be done to raise awareness.
I welcome that a number of my colleagues attended a debate in June about the menopause and its implications for women where they discussed matters including educating children, establishing workplace menopause policies and menopause support groups. I am pleased that my Ministerial colleague announced a new menopause pathway improvement programme that is being led by the NHS and NHS Improvement. This brings together key stakeholders and partners to develop evidence-based care pathways for women to increase access to and delivery of perimenopause and menopause care.
Further, I welcome that a consultation was announced by the Government prior to development of a Women's Health Strategy. This aims to understand and improve the health and wellbeing of women across the country and I am delighted that the Government has committed to focusing on issues surrounding the menopause significantly in this strategy. Ministers hope to produce a landmark strategy that: places women’s voices at the centre of their health and care; improves the quality and accessibility of high-quality information and education on women’s health; ensures the health and care system is responsive to women’s needs throughout their lives; and understands how women’s physical and mental health can affect them in the workplace. I am aware that the Government has received over 100,000 responses and is in the process of reviewing them.
I also welcome steps being taken by my colleagues across government to work with businesses and academics to highlight the role employers can play in supporting women going through menopause transition, including setting out practical action employers can take, alongside policies like flexible working. Measures like these can make a significant difference for those going through the menopause.
I am heartened by the work of organisations like the International Menopause Society and Menopause Support to increase awareness and understanding about what women experience during this phase in their lives.
I will continue to monitor progress on this matter by speaking with my colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care and will seek to attend any future debates.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP