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Call for national awareness campaign on menopause after 'incredibly important' Liveline discussion

The Taoiseach said he supported the call and that the government “will act on driving on a progressive health policy for women’s health”.

The Department of Health says a national awareness to help normalise discussions about women’s health, which will include menopause, is being established.
The Department of Health says a national awareness to help normalise discussions about women’s health, which will include menopause, is being established.
Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has given his full support for a national awareness campaign on menopause.

Fianna Fáil TD Niamh Smyth brought a motion before the parliamentary party meeting last night calling for a campaign to support women with menopause.

The motion was supported TD Catherine Ardagh, and senators Lisa Chambers and Lorraine Clifford Lee. 

Ardagh said there are 30,000 women waiting on public gynecologist waiting lists, and this has to change. 

Speaking at last night’s meeting the Taoiseach said Joe Duffy on RTÉ’s Liveline over the last week has been an example of the best public service broadcasting. 

“We will act on driving on a progressive health policy for women’s health,” he said. 

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said he 100% supported the motion, stating that the Liveline programme, which allowed women to tell their own stories of menopause, was “incredibly important”. 

Having initially dedicated a portion of one show last week to the topic, due to the overwhelming response from callers, Liveline discussed menopause stories on every episode since then.

Speaking in the Seanad this week Green Party senator Pauline O’Reilly said 50% of the country are impacted by menopause and it is time we had a proper conversation about it.

O’Reilly urged other public representatives to speak out more about it. 

She said women are telling their stories, saying they do not understand fully what is happening to them for many years and that their Gps are not fully educated around hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

“A high proportion – up to 10% – of women who are suffering symptoms actually leave work as a result of the menopause. When they go to the doctor, this is not really recognised. They may need a sick certificate for a certain period. Do their employers recognise the impact this is having on them?  

“The impacts range across mental and physical health and can be really debilitating,” she said.

A statement from the Department of Health said menopause has also been identified as a priority under the Women’s Health Taskforce.

The Women’s Health Taskforce, which was established in September 2019, aims to improve women’s health outcomes and experiences of healthcare.

The taskforce has met 10 times since it was established in September 2019, and a number of initial priority areas for action were determined last year, with the issue of menopause recognised and included as one of these priority areas, said the department.

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“Activity relating to menopause in particular is currently under development. Implementation of actions will be supported by the Budget 2021 allocation of a dedicated €5 million ‘Women’s Health Fund’.

“In 2021, the €5 million Women’s Health Fund will deliver a programme of actions arising from the overall Women’s Health Taskforce activity.

“A national awareness and education campaign will also be delivered to provide a trusted source of information and help normalise discussions about women’s health, which will include menopause.

“Further detail on this activity will be shared once it is finalised in the near term,” said a department spokesperson. 

They added that women who experience menopausal symptoms which they find difficult to deal with should see their GP.

“GPs can offer treatments and suggest lifestyle changes if a woman has severe menopausal symptoms that have a significant impact on her everyday activities. 

“Women who have a medical card are entitled to a range of services including general practitioner services, prescribed drugs and medicines, all in-patient public hospital services in public wards (including consultant services), all out-patient public hospital services (including consultant services),” added the department.

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