This month (October) is Menopause Awareness Month and is a chance to raise awareness of the menopause, the impact it can have and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing.
The NHS employs over 1.5 million people and around one million of these people are women. This is over 75% of the entire workforce. Women between the ages of 45 and 54 make up a fifth of all NHS employees, meaning up to 20% of our workforce could be experiencing menopausal symptoms.
Three in five people experiencing menopause believe their symptoms have a negative impact on them at work and nearly one in three said they had been unable to go into work because of their menopause symptoms.
There are a number of resources available to support NHS colleagues to stay and thrive through the menopause on the NHS England website, including an e-learning for module specifically for NHS staff which covers common symptoms of the menopause, how it can impact people at work and how colleagues can support those going through the menopause. It takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. There is also a follow-up e-learning module specifically for occupational health colleagues which gives advice on providing specialist support for staff and takes 30 minutes to complete.
There are also resources for line managers available to support colleagues to stay and thrive through the menopause, including national menopause guidance which can be used alongside any existing policies or guidance and a guide on recording menopause related absence for line managers, HR and ESR users to help better record the impact of menopause. By recording absences accurately, we can gain a better understanding of the impact menopause is having on our NHS colleagues.
The theme of this year's World Menopause Day, which took place on 18 October, is cardiovascular disease. Women's risk of a heart attack increases after the menopause, so it's really important to take these symptoms seriously. NHS England has campaign resources to help raise awareness of the symptoms of a heart attack and encourage anyone experiencing them to dial 999.