HEFMA will be supporting NHS England in a new initiative to create a more supportive working environment and culture around the menopause.
The menopause can have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of staff, with symptoms ranging from hot flushes and trouble sleeping to anxiety and low mood. For around a quarter of people going through the transition, symptoms can be severe and have a debilitating impact on their day-to-day life.
Within estates and facilities (EFM) women comprise 55% of the total workforce. However, this is not evenly spread; within lower bands, women represent up to 61% of the workforce.
Studies show that hundreds of thousands of individuals have left the workplace as a result of their menopause symptoms. For EFM, which is already struggling with workforce recruitment and retention, it is therefore incredibly important that all staff have the knowledge and resources required to support their colleagues experiencing the menopause.
NHS England has developed a package of e-learning resources to provide all staff with a valuable base knowledge about menopause and its impact on the NHS workforce. The online module, which takes less than 30 minutes to complete, covers signs and symptoms of the menopause, and includes case studies and real life scenarios, as well as tips on offering support, and advice on making reasonable adjustments if appropriate.
The module can be found here, and all staff are urged to take the time to complete it and enhance their understanding of the menopause itself and the steps they can take to support a colleague going through it.
With around one million women working in the NHS, and more people continuing their careers until a later age, the menopause is everyone's business and it is more important than ever that staff are given the support they need.
There will be more on this initiative, and the work that HEFMA is doing to support it, in the Jan/Feb 2024 edition of the HEFMA Pulse magazine.