Responding to the publication of the House of Commons Committee report on Menopause and the workplace1, Dr Latifa Patel, BMA representative body chair, said:
“This report definitively shows that the stigma surrounding menopause is driving women out of workplaces with appalling knock-on effects for the gender pay gap, pension gap and the number of women in senior leadership positions.
“Menopause-related discrimination in the workplace is widespread and deeply damaging to the physical and mental health of women, so we welcome the committee’s call for greater awareness and support for people with menopause symptoms. It is also encouraging that the committee has accepted the BMA’s recommendation to introduce a menopause policy in workplaces by piloting a menopause leave policy within a public sector employer.
“People who experience menopause, no matter where they live, must be able to access health advice and support, and this must include ending the postcode lottery in access to specialist services. GPs, as the first port of call for those experiencing menopause symptoms, will also need support, resources and additional capacity to carry out continual professional development. 55% of GPs are women themselves and so in addition to providing greater training on menopause, they also need to know that their own workplaces will be supportive when they experience menopause symptoms.
“Within the medical workforce, menopause is still a taboo subject and this has to change. The BMA’s own research has found that a significant number of women senior doctors have reduced their hours, left management roles or intend to leave medicine altogether, despite enjoying their careers, because of the difficulties they faced when going through menopause2. The health service is under immense pressure and we cannot afford to lose experienced doctors because of a lack of flexibility and support during a relatively short phase in life.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
- The BMA submitted written evidence to the inquiry.
- The BMA has surveyed its members to understand specific challenges for doctors working through the menopause. Our report looks at the experiences of doctors and areas of action which could support doctors during this time. Key findings include:
- 93% of survey respondents had experienced symptoms as a result of the menopause, with 65% experiencing both physical and mental symptoms.
- 90% said that these symptoms had impacted their working lives, with 38% saying that the impact was significant.
- 36% of respondents had made changes to their working lives as a result of menopause and 9% intended to make changes.
- 38% wanted to make changes to their working lives as a result of menopause but said they were not able to.
- Only 16% had discussed their menopause symptoms with their manager and 47% wanted to but did not feel comfortable doing so.