The cost of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescriptions will decrease following a campaign by a Labor MP, the government announced.
Carolyn Harris has tabled a bill in Parliament to make menopause treatment free in England.
The government wouldn’t go that far, but it said women should only pay for their prescription once a year, saving up to £ 200 a year.
Ms. Harris welcomed the move and thanked the “menopausal warriors” for their support.
- Menopause “made me feel I was disappearing”
- Medical leaders are calling for action for HRT deficiency
- Disciplined for free time during menopause
In a tearful statement, the Swansea East MP added: “What happened today is just the beginning, I know, but we can do such great things together because that’s what it’s all about: caring for beautiful women.
“The menopause revolution is making a big difference.”
Task force for menopause
HRT can treat menopausal symptoms by replacing hormones that are at a lower level for those who approach and experience it.
These symptoms include anxiety, hot flashes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, and vaginal dryness.
And while the NHS says symptoms last about four years after someone’s last period, one in 10 women experience them for up to 12 years.
A prescription for HRT in England currently costs £ 9.95 – or £ 18.70 if a woman needs two types of hormones – and is often provided on a short-term basis, meaning the cost has to be paid every month or every three months.
In England there is an option to pay 12 months of prescriptions upfront known as a certificate of prepayment, which costs just over £ 108 per year, but in both Scotland and Wales, prescriptions are free.
Under the government’s proposal for England, HRT prescriptions will be made available on an annual basis, meaning someone will only have to pay for the prescription once a year.
This would reduce the charge of those who pay monthly by around £ 200, or between £ 90 and £ 100 for someone with a prepayment certificate.
The government is in discussions with NHS England to put the measures into practice, as well as looking into combining two hormone treatments into one prescription, which is said to affect around 10% of women who use HRT.
Health Minister Maria Caulfield confirmed the change during a debate on the matter in the councils and confirmed that the government will launch a “menopause taskforce” to investigate the matter, inviting Ms. Harris to serve as co-chair.
He also vowed to make menopause a priority in the government’s next strategy for women’s health, which is expected to be published later this year.
“More to do”
“As a woman and a nurse, I am keenly aware of how difficult it can be to live with the symptoms of menopause,” she said.
“Reducing the cost of HRT – which can be a lifeline for women severely affected by menopause – is a big step forward, but there is still a lot to do.”
Female MPs from across the political spectrum spoke about their experiences of menopause during Friday’s debate.
Labor’s shadow health minister, Liz Kendall, described a “terrifying sense of anxiety and panic” after the onset of symptoms.
He described more of his symptoms, adding, “The itchiness, hair loss and the feeling of being right down, and most of all what I can only describe as the catastrophically bad sleep night after night after night – which finally emerges in the morning drenched in. sweat. thinking, ‘How the hell am I going to get through the day?’
“And like so many women I had absolutely no idea what was going on.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid appeared during the debate and intervened during Ms. Kendall’s speech to offer her support.
“I think every word he said will resonate with millions of people across the country for exactly the reasons he indicated,” he said.
“I think it is powerful to hear your personal experiences from you and I hope, especially after this debate, but moving forward, that the whole House can work together and do much more to help with this.”
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