Menopause at work: how employers can step up to support nurses

In this sponsored article, NHS Employers outlines why it’s essential organisations understand the needs of staff experiencing menopause symptoms

This article is sponsored by NHS Employers

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The menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline.

Studies have shown menopause symptoms can have a significant impact on attendance and performance in the workplace.

With our population now living and working longer, and with so many women working in the NHS, it is vital that staff are supported to stay well and thrive in the workplace.

Menopause is an organisational issue for nurses’ employers

Menopause is not solely a women’s issue, it’s an organisational issue. All managers need to know about it and know how they can support their staff. Awareness is fundamental and reducing stigma of menopause is vital so that more people will talk openly about it.

  • There are 3.5 million women over the age of 50 in the workplace.
  • There are just under one million (960,000) women working in the NHS.
  • In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51.
  • Around one in 100 women experience menopause before age 40.
  • Three out of four women experience symptoms, one in four could experience serious symptoms.

Improving the workplace environment

Acas has published menopause at work guidance to help employers and managers support their staff. It includes tips for workers on how to raise any concerns, and good practice guidance for employers.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Let’s talk menopause resource provides managers with tools on how to support women going through the menopause at work.

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine’s (FOM) guidance on menopause and the workplace and infographic highlights that almost eight out of ten women experiencing the menopause are in work. The FOM notes that most women are unwilling to disclose menopause-related health problems to their managers. The guidance offers practical advice on how to improve workplace environments.

Information from the Faculty of Occupational Medicine

What are NHS trusts doing?

NHS Employers’ webinar features Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief nurse Suzanne Banks talking about how she developed and implemented a menopause strategy to support staff with the menopause.

The strategy was introduced after the trust discovered that staff sickness absences were often related to menopause symptoms. Since its launch, referrals into occupational health now include menopause and stress/anxiety. The age of a female staff member is also considered at this triage stage to ensure staff receive the correct support.

Elsewhere in the webinar, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust HR business partner and health and well-being lead Alex Watson shares practical steps the trust took to support staff. Trust initiatives include menopause guidance and a staff facilities map showing the locations of amenities such as showers, toilets and restrooms across the trust area.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has menopause factsheets to support employees.

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust created an information leaflet for staff that directly links to its overall health and well-being strategy and working lives policies. The trust has created videos to support staff and managers in the workplace. Take a look at the trust’s guide for managers and guide for employees videos. For more information on the Belfast menopause initiatives, contact Samantha.Whann@belfasttrust.hscni.net.

East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust has created menopause guidance and andropause guidance for employees and line managers to support staff who are experiencing difficulties. The aim is to create an environment where staff feel confident to raise concerns, instigate conversations and ask for reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

NHS Employers guidance for organisations, managers and staff

Download NHS Employers’ menopause at work guidance to understand the principles that will help organisations to support their workforce and line managers in enabling staff and individuals to look after themselves.

Further information

Related articles

The original version of this article is published on NHS Employers’ website.