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Flexible working offered to NHS nurses going through the menopause

‘Taboos need to be broken,’ says NHS England chief as the health body publishes the first-ever menopause guidance for line managers and leaders

‘Taboos need to be broken,’ says NHS England chief as the health body publishes the first-ever menopause guidance for line managers and leaders

NHS nurses going through the menopause are to be offered flexible working as NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard says ‘taboos need to be broken’.

NHS England published the first-ever national menopause guidance , urging line managers and leaders to normalise employees asking for help and to consider flexible working as a measure to help colleagues cope with symptoms.

‘Taboos need to be broken,’ says NHS England chief as the health body publishes the first-ever menopause guidance for line managers and leaders

Flexible working offered to NHS nurses going through the menopause
Picture: iStock

NHS nurses going through the menopause are to be offered flexible working as NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard says ‘taboos need to be broken’.

NHS England published the first-ever national menopause guidance, urging line managers and leaders to normalise employees asking for help and to consider flexible working as a measure to help colleagues cope with symptoms.

Nurses need to be given support to thrive at work during the menopause

Ms Pritchard said that NHS workers, including nurses, needed to be given support to thrive at work during the menopause and that simple steps, such as cooler uniforms and fans to reduce temperatures, should be happening ‘right across the board’.

Speaking last week as the guidance was launched, she said addressing difficulties faced by staff is ‘not just a matter of respect’, but also ‘an investment in our workforce’.

‘Women should feel they can talk openly about the menopause, so we must break the taboos, increase support and help more women thrive at every stage of their working lives’

Amanda Pritchard, NHS England chief executive

‘Women between the ages of 45 and 54 alone make up a fifth of all NHS employees, which means up to 260,000 staff could experience the menopause at work, and for many women it can be a difficult transition,’ she said.

‘I want all those facing that transition in the NHS to have access to the right support to stay in and thrive at work. Women should feel they can talk openly about the menopause, so we must break the taboos, increase support and help more women thrive at every stage of their working lives, and opening up the conversation is the first step.’

The guidance gives information on common symptoms and instructs managers to take part in training, encourage an open dialogue around menopause in the work place, and to consider reasonable adjustments.

‘No one size fits all’, says nurse consultant and advanced menopause specialist

Nurse consultant and advanced menopause specialist Debra Holloway welcomed the document, but said more needs to be done to improve access to treatment.

‘The NHS can lead the way on being increasingly more menopause friendly, and this is a good start to get people talking. But it still can be a challenge for women to access treatment for menopause, including HRT or alternatives. There is huge scope for improvement on this,’ she told Nursing Standard.

‘It can also be more difficult for some staff groups to work from home, but flexibility can still be included for them. But this is a small part of the support needed and being away from work colleagues may make anxiety and isolation worse for some women. No one size fits all, so this needs to be remembered.’


Find out more

NHS England (2022) Supporting our NHS People Through Menopause: Guidance for Line Managers and Colleagues


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