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Menopause workplace policy for businesses to be developed, says health minister

Women have recently shared their menopause experience on RTÉ’s Liveline.

HEALTH MINISTER STEPHEN Donnelly has told the Dáil that work is underway to develop a menopause workplace policy. 

Such a policy will look to include measures that allow work adjustments for women going through menopause, such as flexible working, guidance around sickness leave, and time off for appointments that might be needed.

He said a range of actions on menopause are being developed by his department which include the provision of specialist supports, as well as a national awareness campaign around menopause.

Donnelly said he hoped the campaign will bring about an increased visibility around menopause.

The issue gained prominence in recent weeks when women told RTÉ’s Joe Duffy about their stories of menopause, with many 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).

Having initially dedicated a portion of one show to the topic of menopause, due to the overwhelming response from callers, Liveline discussed women’s stories over a number of shows.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said recently that RTÉ’s Liveline programmes on the issue was an example of the best public service broadcasting. 

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

Donnelly said the opportunity the Liveline programme gave to women allowed them to tell the country about their own stories of menopause, stating that it was “incredibly important”. 

A motion was recently passed at the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting calling for a campaign to support women with menopause, following the issue being raised by TDs and senator such as Niamh Smyth, Catherine Ardagh, Lisa Chambers and Lorraine Clifford Lee. 

Fine Gael Senator Aisling Dolan also recently called for information on symptoms, advice on treatments including HRT, and specialised training for community healthcare professionals to identify and treat early symptoms in primary care centres to be rolled out in the 18 new Sláintecare Healthy Communities planned across the country.

She said recently that the “silence in workplaces is frustrating”.

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