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Lack of support for staff during menopause affects their work and career, survey reveals

Menopause affects 90% of women doctors’ working lives and career prospects according to a BMA survey
Menopause in the workplace

Menopause affects 90% of women doctors' working lives according to a British Medical Association survey, and the subject should no longer be taboo

A significant number of doctors have reduced their hours, left management roles or intend to leave medicine because of difficulties they faced when going through menopause, new research reveals.

BMA survey reveals a reluctance to discuss menopause in the workplace

Responses from 2,000 doctors to a survey on menopause by the British Medical Association (BMA) revealed a lack of support for staff and huge reluctance to discuss the problem with managers and colleagues.

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Menopause affects 90% of women doctors' working lives according to a British Medical Association survey, and the subject should no longer be taboo


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A significant number of doctors have reduced their hours, left management roles or intend to leave medicine because of difficulties they faced when going through menopause, new research reveals.

BMA survey reveals a reluctance to discuss menopause in the workplace

Responses from 2,000 doctors to a survey on menopause by the British Medical Association (BMA) revealed a lack of support for staff and huge reluctance to discuss the problem with managers and colleagues.

These findings echo a recent Nursing Standard survey of 2,241 nurses, which also highlighted a lack of understanding and empathy towards staff who are experiencing the menopause.

The BMA's key findings were that nine out of ten (90%) doctors said menopause symptoms had affected their working lives, 36% had made changes to their working lives, while another 38% wanted to but were unable.

Sexist and ageist behaviours prevent women speaking out about the menopause 

Only 16% had discussed their symptoms with their manager and 47% wanted to but did not feel comfortable doing so.

The BMA is now calling on employers to:

  • Normalise the topic of menopause and raise awareness of how symptoms can affect work
  • Give menopausal doctors access to flexible working and make workplace adjustments, such as better room ventilation, access to toilets and rest breaks
  • Develop an inclusive culture by addressing sexist and ageist behaviours that stop women speaking out and asking for support

RCN national officer for health and safety Kim Sunley said that menopause was still considered a taboo subject in the workplace.

Employers need to take the impact of menopause symptoms seriously, says RCN

'Health and care employers need to take this issue seriously and recognise that factors at work have the potential to significantly affect someone’s experience of the menopause,' she said.

Most women will experience menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, with symptoms including hot flushes, joint pain, migraines, night sweats, fatigue and heavy periods – lasting an average of four years.

People who are non-binary, trans or intersex may also experience symptoms because of menopause or treatment related to gender transition.

There are just over 30,000 female doctors aged between 45 and 55 in the UK, compared with 291,300 registered nursing staff aged between 41 and 55.

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