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Menopause supports must be expanded across the country – Higgins

Menopause supports must be expanded to women across the country according to Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins, who raised the matter with the Taoiseach in the Dáil today.

Deputy Higgins said, “Menopause can be a hugely challenging time for women, both physically and mentally. Like with many women’s health issues, menopause was not discussed openly in the past, but thankfully that is changing. We are now more aware than ever of the challenges for women as well as the availability of treatments to help overcome those challenges.

“For example, I am often contacted by women who find that Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has been a lifeline for them through menopause. But unfortunately, the cost of this medication is often a barrier to access.

“Just last week a constituent sent me a copy of her bill of €62.33 for a month’s supply of HRT with the comment ‘it really is still a man’s’ world’. “In 2019, the Women’s Health Taskforce recommended that we improve supports for menopause in Ireland.

“Today in the Dáil I raised this matter with the Taoiseach seeking information on what the Government doing to improve menopause supports for women.

“I was informed of the planned expansion of supports across the country.

"Currently there is one specialist menopause clinic in Dublin, but three more such clinics are on the way, and the Taoiseach confirmed to me that it is the Government’s intention to establish them this year. I will follow up with the Minister for Health in relation to his plans to ensure this happens.

“This is more than just a health issue; it is an economic issue too. The Menopause Hub reports that 22% of women experiencing moderate to severe menopause symptoms have missed 3 or more days of work a result, with 85% not feeling they could tell their employer the real reason for time off work.

“Shockingly, 43% of these women have actually considered giving up work because of their symptoms. It would be great to see employers taking this on board and designing organisational policies on the menopause as well as delivering menopause training for management and HR staff to help increase awareness of these issues in the workplace.

“In recent years we have delivered significant improvements in our country’s approach to women’s healthcare. The repeal of the eighth amendment for example was a landmark decision, and the recent Budget announcement to provide free contraception to young women is another welcome progressive move.

“However, we know that women’s healthcare goes far beyond the issues of contraception and family planning. It is imperative that women all across the country have access to the menopause supports they need”, concluded Deputy Higgins.

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