Every woman’s experience of the menopause is different, and while some experience symptoms mildly, for others, every aspect of their lives can be greatly affected. I agree that greater support needs to be offered to menopausal and peri-menopausal women across the country and the Government’s ambition is for every woman to have access to the care and support they need during the menopause. Menopause has been selected as a priority topic for the upcoming Women’s Health Strategy and I look forward to reading more about the Government’s plans when the Strategy is published.
Parliament has been actively debating this issue and the Government has announced a number of measures to improve the support available to women experiencing the menopause. Subject to consultation with professional bodies, the costs of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) prescriptions will be reduced, delivered through a bespoke pre-payment certificate for hormone treatments. Given a pre-payment certificate is usually across all NHS prescriptions, rather than a specific condition, a new system will need to be created and this takes time. By April 2023, the annual cost for all HRT products will be £18.70, the equivalent of two single prescription charges for a full year and a significant saving.
I know it is frustrating that this important change cannot be implemented faster, but I do believe it is important to get this right and ensure there is a robust system in place to give women the best possible support. I have been reassured that ministers will work with the NHS to make sure that the necessary changes are implemented at the fastest possible pace.
Additionally, a new cross-party Menopause Taskforce, co-chaired by the Minister for Women’s Health and Carolyn Harris MP, is considering how education and training, workplace policies and peer groups can support affected women. I will of course continue to monitor this matter by consulting my relevant ministerial colleagues and will seek to attend future debates.