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Healthcare staff struggling with menopause symptoms are considering quitting, Newson Health survey finds

Healthcare staff struggling with menopause symptoms are considering quitting, Newson Health survey finds

Findings set to be presented at global menopause conference

Healthcare staff are considering changing their hours or even quitting as they struggle to cope with menopause symptoms in the workplace, a new survey by Newson Health suggests.

Our poll found women with predominantly cognitive or mood-related symptoms were 63% more likely to report a significant negative impact on their working lives, compared to women whose symptoms were exclusively physical.

Yet almost half (45%) of those surveyed had been unable to reduce their working hours, either due to employer inflexibility or financial constraints. Some 48% had considered quitting their job as a result.

The findings of our survey are being presented this week at the International Menopause Society’s (IMS) World Congress on Menopause. The global conference, which kicks off in Lisbon, Portugal, today is a celebration of women’s health, as well as highlighting clinical, research and social aspects of the menopause.

Other findings of the anonymous online survey, completed by more than 1,000 women working in the NHS and independent healthcare sector, included:

• Only 1 in 5 (18%) of NHS staff had been able to make changes to current work arrangements because of their symptoms, compared to 53% in the private sector

• Overall, a third (34%) felt unable to raise these issues with their managers, while 80% said they had not received any formal education about the menopause

• Conversely, of those who had started HRT, 74% felt it had improved their ability to carry on working

Over 75% of the NHS workforce is female, the majority between the ages of 40-60 years. With the onset of perimenopause in the mid-forties, and the average age of menopause at 51, this puts thousands of healthcare staff in the age group for perimenopause and menopause.

Menopausal symptoms are common and for some can have a devastating impact on home and work lives, particularly for people working in high-pressured, demanding work environments like the health and social care sector.

Newson Health founder, GP and Menopause Specialist Dr Louise Newson said:

‘Our findings reveal the stark impact of unaddressed menopausal symptoms within the health sector at a time when retention of staff is crucial.

‘Long hours, short staffing and challenging work can take their toll at the best of times, but our survey shows many menopausal employees are coping with the impact of menopause symptoms on top of existing pressures.

‘Staff are the backbone of our health and social care system, and they deserve to be supported.’

Newson Health medical director Dr Magnus Harrison said:

‘Our survey findings come amid a staffing crisis, with 300,000 vacancies across health and social care, and the fact that one in nine nurses have quit the NHS in the past year alone.

‘Add to that the prospect of the worst-ever winter in the NHS for those working in emergency care and the ever-present issue of the elective care backlog, employers simply cannot afford to ignore the very real impact of menopause symptoms on their workforce any longer.

‘It’s particularly concerning to see that just 1 in 5 of NHS staff were able to change their working arrangements due to their symptoms.

‘If the health service is to retain the valuable skills and experience of menopausal staff, then these employees need help more than ever given the current pressures.’

Menopause in the United Kingdom National Health Service: An online workforce survey will be presented in the IMS Workplace and Attitudes session on 28 October at 16:45-17:45

How we carried out our survey

An online survey to gauge women’s experiences was promoted on social media.

The survey consisted of a combination of multiple-choice questions, Likert-type scales, and free text options. Participation was anonymous and not remunerated.

It was completed by 1,264 women, 88% of whom stated they worked within the NHS, and 12% worked outside of the health service.

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