New menopause support package for QEH staff and families
Staff at Lynn's hospital are to benefit from a new package of menopause support.
With more than three-quarters of the workforce female, including 12 per cent in the age bracket of 45 to 50 when the onset is common, this particular element of the QEH's staff wellness programme is another significant policy.
The support includes training and awareness for managers and staff, a network of support through volunteer menopause champions, and a regular menopause clinic to bring support directly to staff and their families.
QEH Trust chief executive Caroline Shaw said: “We’re passionate about making QEH an even better place to work which is why we have strengthened our staff engagement programme to ensure Team QEH feel listened to and supported.
"Going through the menopause can be an uncomfortable time and experiencing it within the workplace is an additional challenge.
"Women of menopausal age may need specific considerations and being a menopause-friendly employer is about encouraging conversations about what an individual is going through which can reduce stress and improve the way colleagues feel about coming to work.”
Britpop icon and menopause campaigner Meg Mathews is the trust’s menopause ambassador and says she has been "blown away" by the efforts at QEH.
Meg has worked to break the stigma around menopause and empower women through her platforms.
She said: “I personally struggled with 32 of the 34 symptoms from crippling anxiety to night sweats, foggy brain and osteoporosis.
"There were some days when I just couldn’t cope and my anxiety was so bad in the beginning that I couldn’t leave my house. I can’t imagine what it must be like for staff to experience that whilst working long shifts in a busy hospital.
"I recently became a menopause ambassador for QEH and I have been blown away by the team and the work they are doing to help women cope with the menopause.”
QEH recently become the first NHS trust in the country to state that it is a menopause-friendly employer in its job adverts.
The trust’s ambition is to become a national leader in the NHS for menopause awareness and hopes to inspire other organisations to follow.
The work is part of a wider corporate strategic priority to strengthen an open culture for staff and improve wellbeing support.