16 Jun 2021

#MakeMenopauseMatter campaign to be debated in Private Members Bill in Parliament.

Over the past five years we have been delighted to campaign, support, and stand side by side with our friend and colleague, Diane Danzebrink, who launched The Menopause Support campaign to #MakeMenopauseMatter in Westminster back in October 2018.

With 145,000 plus signatures and one aim already met, the remaining aims of the #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign are now to be debated in a private members bill submitted by Carolyn Harris MP today (Wednesday 16 June).   

Diane Danzebrink, the driving force behind the campaign, was herself subject to early menopause as a result of a total hysterectomy - like our founder Katie Taylor, her search for non-existent support at the time left her feeling desperate, but determined to help change things for future generations.

Carolyn contacted Diane immediately after seeing her talking about menopause on the BBC several years ago and invited her to Westminster to discuss what needs to change. Since then The Latte Lounge has been to Westminster twice with Diane and other fellow campaigners and doctors to meet with many other cross party MPs and the two have also met several times to discuss the campaign aims:

  1. To significantly improve menopause education amongst GPs – far too many women are suffering as GPs receive very little, if any menopause education during their training leaving them ill equipped to recognise and manage a phase of life that will directly affect at least 50% of the population. 
  2. To raise awareness within the workplace and for all employers to have menopause guidelines in place to be able to support women experiencing symptoms. Too many women feel unsupported at work and reduce hours or leave the workplace due to menopause symptoms.
  3. To introduce menopause education in to the RSE curriculum for all teenage boys and girls. Every woman and man deserves to understand this phase of life. Far too many individuals and relationships suffer as a result of a lack of understanding of menopause.

Diane has campaigned tirelessly to highlight the failings in menopause care, education and support and Carolyn has been instrumental in ensuring the subject has been kept on the Parliamentary agenda.

Speaking about todays news, Diane Danzebrink said:

“Improving menopause education, care and support for all women is vital, far too many continue to needlessly suffer in silence and this has to stop. I am grateful to Carolyn Harris for keeping menopause on the parliamentary agenda and for her continued support of the aims of the #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign.”

 Far too many women are being failed when their GPs are not equipped to help leaving them to try to cope alone or being forced to pay for expensive private care and for many this is simply not an option. It is a national disgrace that a phase of life that will affect half of the population is not thoroughly taught to every doctor and practice nurse. The repeated GP appointments that women feel they need to make along with referrals to secondary services for conditions related to menopause must be costing an already over stretched NHS an absolute fortune.

Menopause awareness in the workplace is a win-win situation. If employers want to retain valuable staff members then it is just common sense to provide the right support for staff experiencing symptoms of menopause as they do for pregnancy rather than lose them from the organisation. There are very simple guidelines and adjustments that can be put in place and with more women over fifty in the workplace than ever before, it is vital that this is addressed swiftly.
Today’s news of a menopause private members bill makes me even more determined to ensure that we will be the generation to finally #MakeMenopauseMatter 

“Women have suffered long enough: I’m determined to change that”

Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, said:

“For far too long, generation after generation of women have been let down, ignored or simply thrown on the scrap heap as a result of the menopause. 

“Despite affecting more than half of the world’s population, menopause remains one of the last great taboos - badly funded and rarely discussed in public. It is also poorly understood: in the workplace, in society at large and far too often, even in the doctor's surgery. 

“It is clear that we need both a step change in attitudes, and a change in the law.  This starts with the key plank of my Private Members Bill, which asks the NHS in England to follow the lead set in Wales and Scotland and exempt HRT from NHS prescription charges. 

“But we know that its about far more than money - it's also about attitude and education.  That's why our new APPG will be so important.  This won’t be a talking shop - it will be a driving force for change.  Our menopause inquiry will take in workplace policy, medical school training, public health messaging and school curriculums.

“If the menopause were an illness, or indeed a condition that impacted every man, it’s unlikely that financial support would be so woeful, or public understanding so negligible.  Women have suffered long enough - I am determined to change that.”
“For far too long, generation after generation of women have been let down, ignored or simply thrown on the scrap heap as a result of the menopause. Despite affecting more than half of the world’s population, menopause remains one of the last great taboos - badly funded and rarely discussed in public. It is also poorly understood: in the workplace, in society at large and far too often, even in the doctor's surgery. Women have suffered long enough - I am determined to change that.”

Our founder Katie Taylor said:

"It has been such a pleasure to support and stand by Dianes side over these last 5 years, banging the same drum, to make sure no other woman has to suffer like so many of us have.  

There have been many round table meetings, discussions with MPs from both parties and endless noise made to get our voices heard, so it really is wonderful to hear that Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, today pledged ‘a menopause revolution’ as she presented her Menopause Private Members Bill in the House of Commons - and announced the establishment of an All Party Parliamentary Group on the issue.”

Following her success in the Private Members Bill Ballot, Carolyn will be allocated Parliamentary time for a debate on her Bill, with the goal that it will eventually pass into law. 
A central plank of the Menopause (Support and Services) Bill will exempt Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) from NHS prescription charges in England, as is already the case in Wales and Scotland.

The Bill will also take in broader issues around menopause rights, entitlements and education, all of which will be explored in greater detail through the newly launched All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Menopause. The second reading of the Menopause Support and Services Bill has been scheduled for the 29th October 2021.

If you would like to show your support by signing the petition, it will only take a few seconds of your time.

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If you'd like to support your workplace to introduce support for those experiencing menopause and perimenopause then take a look at our guidance for employers.

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