Accreditation highlights how to be a menopause – friendly employer

The local NHS health and care system is proudly celebrating achieving Menopause Friendly Accreditation – highlighting that the NHS continues to focus on staff wellbeing by creating a culture that encourages open discussion about menopause and provides staff with inclusive awareness, support and training.

The Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System (ICS) has been awarded the accreditation by Henpicked Menopause.

The menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years and is usually experienced between the ages of 45 – 55 years, when a loss of hormones including oestrogen and progesterone mean that challenging symptoms can be experienced.

Debs Crelly, Health and Wellbeing Manager for the Suffolk and North East Essex ICS, said: “Going through the menopause can be a very difficult time, with mental health symptoms including memory loss, brain fog, mood swings and anxiety and physical symptoms such as irritability, tiredness, headaches and joint pain.

“Having these symptoms in the workplace can be especially challenging and we can lose wonderful and experienced staff due to symptoms. This is why it is so important there is support in place for those going through menopause, as well as training and awareness for both male and female colleagues so they can best understand the condition.

“By being a menopause-friendly employer, we encourage open conversation and dialogue, and by doing so we can put a spotlight on this entirely natural part of the ageing process.

“We also encourage that a supportive approach is offered to ensure those staff approaching menopause are best supported.  These include flexible breaks, an empathetic approach to uniforms and access to a quiet room and cool water to colleagues who may be struggling with symptoms.

“Locally, we have established a network called MyPause, which has more than 400 health and care staff as members. The network signposts and supports those suffering symptoms and trains menopause advocates to support and train staff within their own teams and organisations.”

Evelyn Dickie, Henpicked Independent Panel Member, said: “We’re delighted to see the Suffolk & North East Essex Integrated Care System achieve Menopause Friendly Accreditation. This was an excellent application. They set clear objectives to create a culture where menopause is easy to talk about and support is available to anyone who needs it. They’ve provided a great range of engagement and information, reinforced by a strong training and education programme with lots of initiatives.

“All underpinned by a menopause policy that is supportive, practical and easy to follow. Well done to everyone involved.”