Systems should consider identifying how many staff are leaving at menopause or perimenopause age, new guidance suggests.
According to NHS England, ICSs should ensure workforce data is ‘at the centre’ of its menopause support strategy to help determine the impact of menopause on staff.
Systems should also consider identifying how many staff of perimenopause or menopausal age are taking up flexible working options.
The NHS employees more than 1.3 million people, of whom around 1 million are women. And women between 45 and 54 make up a fifth of all NHE employees, with six out of 10 women experiencing menopausal symptoms stating it has a negative impact on their work.
The new guidance outlines how NHS organisations can support staff experiencing menopause symptoms, including how to make reasonable adjustments and how to help the effects of menopause transition at work.
The guidance said: ‘Good menopause care has both direct and indirect impacts on workforce retention, productivity, presenteeism and absenteeism. Ensuring staff get the support they need is an important part of retaining experienced talent and skills. The right support would also reduce the impact of a person’s symptoms on their health and wellbeing, their effectiveness at work, personal life, and relationships.’
Healthcare leaders and line managers are encouraged to link in with occupational health services and use regular health and wellbeing conversations to discuss whether it would be
helpful to introduce any reasonable adjustments to their working pattern.
This could include flexible working to help staff cope with symptoms.
The guidance also flagged that while menopause is not a specific protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, if an employee is disadvantaged because of their menopause symptoms it could be viewed as discrimination related to age, sex, gender reassignment or disability.
It highlighted that trans men may experience menopause if they do not undertake hormone therapy, while trans women may experience menopause-like symptoms as a result of hormone therapy.