Menopause Support Actions

Menopause Support
Overview and Resources
October 2023

Find out more about how offering information and support to staff going through menopause and all of its stages can benefit your organisation, teams, patients and service users.

Why does this matter?

  • The health and social care workforce is predominantly female and a significant proportion (circa 20%) are between the ages of 45 – 54, when menopause is most likely to start. There are also those who experience early or premature menopause as well as male colleagues, partners and family members who wish to support those going through the menopause. Given the numbers impacted, it’s vitally important for organisations to offer specific health and wellbeing support.
  • Menopause can also affect staff of different cultures in varying ways. This may be due to biological reasons such as starting menopause sooner or later or due to cultural beliefs towards menopause and aging. You can find out further information on this topic by visiting the Resource Library.
  • Experiencing menopausal symptoms can have a negative effect on work, with some staff feeling unable to stay at work, reducing their hours or giving up on career progression because of menopausal symptoms. Visible and effective menopause support is paramount to helping staff stay in the NHS.
  • Menopause support is an important part of a wider package of support aimed at staff in late careers, to enable and encourage them to stay longer and stay well at work.
  • Supporting staff with their wellbeing improves/maintains productivity, reduces sickness absence and presenteeism and improves engagement.
  • Showing support for staff at different stages of their lives and careers demonstrates that the organisation takes health and wellbeing seriously and ensures that those experiencing the menopause feel valued.
  • Talking about the menopause and normalising the symptoms associated will reduce the stigma for those affected.
  • Fostering a positive, caring, and inclusive organisational culture contributes to improved staff engagement and morale, making staff more likely to stay working in the NHS.
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How will this benefit my…

  • Offering support to staff who experience menopausal symptoms and those who support them, will improve their wellbeing, reduce absence linked to the menopause and enable them to stay working in the NHS.
  • Offering and giving support and having open conversations about health and wellbeing creates an environment where people feel able to ask for support when they need it.
  • Educating line mangers, leaders and other staff about the menopause fosters empathy and understanding in the team and helps create a supportive culture.
  • Individuals will feel more able to have open conversations about the issues they are experiencing and work with their line manager to agree adjustments and support.
  • Being supported at work can reduce the impact of symptoms and keep people well (e.g., agreeing to a work pattern that takes account of sleep disturbance).
  • Creating an environment that enables staff in late career to continue working if they want to, helps retain valuable knowledge and experience in the organisation which ultimately benefits patients and service users.
  • Supporting staff with their health and wellbeing supports improvements in staff experience and staff engagement, which directly correlates to improvements in patient and service user experience.
“The menopause passport made our staff feel supported and it made them feel valued as something that is a natural process of a woman’s life”

Wendy Madden, Nurse Lead

 

Top Tips for Implementing

You don’t need to worry about completing all of the tips. Pick a few that feel achievable to you as a starting point.
You can then revisit them later.

  • Read NHS England’s Supporting our NHS People through menopause; guidance for line managers and colleagues which provides a useful glossary and Top Tips for supporting staff experiencing menopause as well as a Checklist for Managers, Wellbeing Action Plan and other resources.
  • Review your organisation’s current health and wellbeing offer. What is already specifically provided for the menopause. Is the offer impactful to those in your organisation and team? Support may be available but is it effective? Are your staff accessing it? What else could you do to help them?
  • For ideas and inspiration, read or watch the case studies showing what other organisations have done, and access the Resource Library, such as NHS Employers’ Menopause and the workplace resources page.
  • Find out if your organisation has a dedicated menopause policy or guidance document in place. If not, could you consider creating one? A national menopause policy is also in development your organisation could consider adopting when it is available.
  • Review your key HR Policies (e.g. sickness absence, flexible working and performance management). Is there specific guidance and support about handling issues in your team that may be a result of the menopause? Talk to your HR department about any possible suggestions.
  • Review your organisation or team’s data; staff demographic information, leaver and exit interview information, staff turnover, staff engagement scores. Understand what the data tells you about who is leaving your organisation or team and why they are leaving. Can you identify how many of your staff are of perimenopause/menopausal age are taking up flexible working options or choosing to leave? You might also be able to access information from your Health and Wellbeing and/or Menopause Champions if you have them.
  • You might need to speak to your organisation about how to access data; this might be a Data Analyst or your HR department.
  • Accessing Model Health System will provide you with useful data. You can register for an account if you don’t already have one.
  • The Understanding your Data, Supporting Staff in Late Career and Health and Wellbeing sections in the NHS Employers Improving Staff Retention – A guide for line managers and employers is also useful starting point.
  • Other useful data is available from the National Quarterly Pulse Survey, NHS People Pulse Survey and ESR Exit Questionnaire. Your organisation may not yet use the NHS People Pulse Survey or ESR Exit Questionnaire so it is worth considering who you could speak to about using them in the future.
  • Do you record menopause-related absences for your team? Doing so can help you gain a better understanding on the impact on your staff and is easy to record on ESR.
  • Engage with your organisation’s Occupational Health, health and wellbeing and HR leads and/or other line managers/leaders and your team about what support they might want or need.
  • Consider any of the following in your team or organisation:
    • Try the Team activities in the Ways to Stay guidebook.
    • Hold menopause training/awareness raising sessions for your team. A 30 minute e-learning session is available on e-learning for healthcare.
    • Hold regular health and wellbeing conversations with your team and consider any reasonable adjustments to their working pattern if it would support them. You can access free training to learn how to have safe and effective wellbeing conversations.
    • Start a menopause staff support group or encourage staff to attend existing groups.
    • Talk to your organisation about providing menopause friendly uniforms/work wear.  This might include breathable fabrics which are not too hot and spare uniforms for changing.
    • Review your team’s working environments and consider temperatures, availability of fans, access to toilets and washrooms, access to rest spaces and break rooms.
    • Promote flexible working and workplace adjustments help staff manage their symptoms, such as supportive working patterns, adjusting duties or responsibilities, changing, or reducing hours.
    • Could you organisation sign the Wellbeing of Women Menopause pledge or work towards a Menopause Friendly Accreditation or similar?
    • Encourage attendance or share resources from the NHS England Midlands Menopause Community of Practice. Interested colleagues can register here.
  • Most importantly – start a conversation! The more people talk about the menopause and the symptoms associated with it, the more we normalise and de-stigmatise the menopause, making it easier for people to ask for and receive the help they need.
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How will I measure the impact?

  • Establish a data baseline in relevant staff groups (e.g., current leaver rates, absence rates, health and wellbeing scores, flexible working requests, reasonable adjustments) and then track and monitor over time.
  • Record menopause related sickness absence separately in ESR so you can monitor and track changes.
  • Share good news stories and promote the support being offered through internal communications channels – celebrate your successes and make sure people hear about them.

Case Studies

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Gemma Ablewhite, Health and Wellbeing Lead at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, talks us through their implementation of menopause support and how they ensured they were supporting and empowering their staff.

Find out more by watching this video!

University Hospitals Birmingham

UHB actioned a menopause passport programme which allows women to indicate when they are in need of more support at work. The initiative at University Hospitals Birmingham is thought to be the first of its kind in the NHS. Wendy Madden, who introduced the idea after taking 11 weeks off work due to menopause symptoms, talks about the programme.

Read more here >

Leicester Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board

The team at Leicester Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board implemented a menopause advocacy programme in order to benefit the entire workforce. Sessions are accessible by all partner organisations, and the programme enables colleagues to understand more about the menopause including its many symptoms, ways to manage them, and how leaders can ensure they are well equipped to offer support. 

Read more here >

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Jenni Carr-Smith talks us through how the Trust launched their Menopause Guide and Toolkit and a two year support package for colleagues, including virtual and face-to-face workshops and informal cafe style events to support colleagues.

Read more here >
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Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board
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Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust
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Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
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University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
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“There may have been a time in the past 18 months where I probably would have thought, ‘I can’t continue to do this’ if I didn’t have that support through the menopause. It can be quite life changing and it kind of affects you in a lot of ways that some people aren’t even aware of.”

Rachel Henn, Clerical Officer