• Sat. May 14th, 2022

Public Service launches menopause policy to support staff

ByJulie J. Helfer

Mar 20, 2022
By Richard Johnstone on 03/20/2022 | Updated on 03/20/2022

Stormont, the base of the Northern Ireland Executive Photo: Pixabay

The Northern Ireland Civil Service will strengthen its support for women going through menopause with a new awareness and understanding policy and programme, and outline the support available.

The policy was published last week and Northern Ireland’s Executive Finance Minister Conor Murphy, whose department is responsible for HR for the public service, said the policy was intended to “ensure our staff are supported to coping with the challenges and impact of menopause”.

He added: “I hope this new menopause policy will create an environment in which female employees will feel confident to raise concerns and request reasonable adjustments if necessary. Empowering managers to provide support will ensure that women can continue to work and that their needs are taken care of. »

Women make up 50% of Northern Ireland’s 24,000 civil service workforce. With more than 55% of employed women aged over 45, a significant number of them are likely to be affected by menopause.

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Jayne Brady, head of the Northern Ireland civil service, launched the policy alongside Murphy and Health Minister Robin Swann. Brady said the new policy builds on existing public service efforts to support women going through menopause.

“For the past few months, we’ve been running menopause seminars with an event, ‘The M Word – Making the Menopause Mainstream,’ which was attended by over 600 colleagues,” she said. “We are already seeing the benefits of increased awareness, with departments establishing support groups for staff. This is only a first step for us as we want to continue to build on this progress through additional guidance and the roll out of training to support the implementation of this policy.

Swann stressed the “tremendously important” role employers have to play in supporting women through menopause and praised initiatives the public service is taking to support its female workforce.

UK-wide Menopause Task Force

Swann attended the first meeting of the new Menopause Task Force last month, which has been set up across all four UK governments to coordinate and work together on supporting women across all nations.

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The group is focused on improving care and support for women and breaking the taboos and stigma that still surround what is a natural part of aging, he said. “My department will continue to work with the task force to identify any opportunities to improve menopause healthcare in Northern Ireland.”

The working group is made up of elected officials, civil servants and health professionals to coordinate the policy. The full list of members is:

  • Maree Todd MSP – Minister for Public Health, Women and Sport, Scottish Government
  • Eluned Morgan MP – Minister for Health and Social Care, Welsh Government
  • Robin Swann MLA – Minister of Health, Executive of Northern Ireland
  • Liz Truss MP – Minister for Women and Equalities
  • Kwasi Kwarteng MP – Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Mims Davies MP – Minister for Employment
  • Ruth May – Chief Nursing Officer for England
  • Matthew Cripps – director of behavior change at NHS England and Improvement
  • Professor Marion Bain – Senior Public Health Adviser, Scottish Government
  • Sue Tranka – Chief Nursing Officer, Welsh Government
  • Dr Heather Payne – Senior Medical Adviser, Welsh Government
  • Dr Joanne McManus – clinical adviser, director of Northern Ireland
  • Dr Charlie Beattie – clinical adviser, director of Northern Ireland
  • Mr Haitham Hamoda – President of the British Menopause Society and Consultant Gynecologist
  • Dr Louise Newson – GP and menopause specialist

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