Newson Health Menopause Society contributes to new report on experiences of NHS staff – study
Analysis found impact of menopause symptoms on nursing and midwifery staff could be costing health service up to £129 million
The Newson Health Menopause Society has contributed to a new report examining the impact of menopause among NHS staff.
Women make up 76% of the total NHS workforce, with one in five perimenopausal or menopausal. This equates to 260,000 individuals potentially experiencing symptoms while working in often frontline clinical roles.
Now an economic analysis by The Strategy Unit and the Health Economics Unit estimates the cost of menopausal symptoms to the NHS as an employer for nurses health visitors and midwives alone is between £89- £129 million.
The two units, which are specialist teams within the NHS, set out to investigate what it is like to be menopausal and work in the NHS, and what the menopause costs the health service as an employer.
Menopausal staff reducing hours or quitting NHS altogether
Key findings from their joint report include:
- One in 85 employees may leave the NHS due to their menopause symptoms
- One in 48 may reduce their hours due to the severity of their symptoms
- Those who do carry on working often demote themselves, or decide not to go for promotion
- Menopause-related sickness is likely to be under-reported as many choose not to disclose symptoms to their line manager or employer
Stories underscore human impact of menopause
Newson Health Menopause Society founder Dr Louise Newson provided clinical advice and critical review of the project, while Society director Lucy Chatwin also gave advice and support across the project’s activities.
Lucy said: ‘The findings from this mixed methods analysis reinforce and underpin what we hear on a regular basis, that women are struggling with menopause symptoms in the workplace
‘The economic analysis provides the evidence to start implementing measures of support for perimenopausal and menopause people urgently to keep them and watch them thrive within the health service.
‘If the money isn’t enough then the stories continue to remind people of the human impact that it can have on individuals’ and their families.
‘It’s been a pleasure to work with the all-female team on this report and how it can help to shape the hearts and minds for the future of the NHS workforce.’
NHS needs to tackle menopause skills and expertise drain
Findings from this report follow a recent survey from Newson Health that found only one in five menopausal women working in the NHS felt they were able to make changes to improve their menopause experience at work.
Report recommendations include that more data relating to menopause in the workplace be analysed to inform national guidance and organisational policy. The report also recommends using in-house expertise to raise awareness and knowledge of how the menopause can be managed at work, and that the NHS as an employer should address the skills and expertise drain associated with the menopause, examining both employer and personal costs.