passport introduced by NHS trust boosting wellbeing
Employees who participated in a “menopause
passport” program say it improved their confidence and emotional
The University Hospitals Birmingham initiative is thought to
be the first of its kind in the NHS.
The personalized passport allows women to indicate when they
require additional assistance at work.
Wendy Madden, a nurse who took 11 weeks off work due to menopausal
symptoms, came up with the idea.
Changes may include taking more breaks, working different
shifts, or sitting closer to the restrooms and air conditioning.
“We’re individualizing that person’s individual
menopause journey and what support they need at different stages of their
journey,” Ms. Madden explained.
Gina Ross, a hospital porter, said she had been suffering
from hot flushes, insomnia, and bouts of depression for the past year.
She is also one of an estimated three million working-age
women who are going through menopause.
“At first, I didn’t want to come to work,” she
She also expressed embarrassment after experiencing memory
“I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, what is happening to
Attending a support group, she added, had helped.
University Hospitals Birmingham is one of England’s largest
hospital trusts, employing over 18,000 women, 5,000 of whom are over the age of
Along with the passport, the trust has appointed a group of
menopause champions who will serve as points of contact for people who want to
learn more about the condition.
Corrine Baylis, for example, stated that her interventions
had an impact on the staff’s emotional well-being at work.
Last month ministers rejected a proposal from a committee of
MPs to introduce “menopause leave” pilots in England, arguing it
could be “counterproductive”. The government, on the other hand,
stated that it has an “ambitious” plan to increase support.
A team of menopause champions has been assigned to the West
Midlands NHS trust as points of contact for any staff members who are
experiencing difficulties or want to learn more.
Debs Wallbank, from Much Wenlock in Shropshire, became a
menopause coach after suffering from undiagnosed symptoms such as anxiety for
six years, forcing her to leave several jobs.
“It’s not about labeling women,” she explained,
“but about raising awareness so that people can be more compassionate and
make small changes that don’t have to cost anything.”