College urges caution over proposed ‘menopause checks’ for 40-year-olds

College Chair Kamila Hawthorne has responded to a new ‘manifesto’ from the All Party Parliamentary Group on menopause, recommending a ‘Menopause Health Check at 40’.

She said: “GPs want to provide the very best care and support to patients at every stage of their lives, and we work very hard to ensure that this is individualised to their specific needs.

“Every woman’s experience of the menopause will be different, and we can see how the All Party Parliamentary Group might think that a ‘Menopause Health Check’ for every woman aged 40 would be a good thing. However, it is hard to see how GPs and their teams could take on this additional work, given the workload and workforce pressures we are currently buckling under.

“We are also concerned that by introducing such a measure for all women, we could be overriding patient choice and ‘over-medicalising’ a stage of life that some women will opt to manage with lifestyle changes and without the need for medication. We advise women with unknown symptoms of any type to consult their GP to establish whether these are related to the menopause or something else.

“That said, we are encouraged that the APPG report does acknowledge the need for much-needed additional funding and support for GPs.

“We have a serious shortage of GPs at the same time as demand for our care and services is rocketing – in August, general practice delivered 5m extra appointments than in August 2019 – equating to 150,000 extra appointments per day.

“General practice is running on empty, and we desperately need a bold plan of support that will enable GPs to give all their patients the care they need and deserve. As well as recruiting and training more GPs, we need to see a funded national retention scheme to encourage existing GPs to remain in the profession, and measures to cut unnecessary bureaucracy.

"The College has had an active role in reforming the treatment and perception of the menopause, having worked with partners including the British Menopause Society and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to develop educational resources for GPs on women's health.

“This includes resources about menopause as part of toolkits on women's health and menstrual wellbeing, e-learning resources and events, and our popular Women’s Health Online Library. We will continue to develop these to support GPs and other healthcare professionals in delivering the best possible care for women, based on the latest evidence."

Further information

RCGP Press office: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editors

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.