Experiences of menopause support in North Tyneside

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Summary of report content

Feedback indicates that women in North Tyneside are dissatisfied with the level of information and support available. Many felt poorly informed about what to expect during the menopause and struggled with symptoms for many years without realising the cause. They found GPs often lacked the expertise needed to make an accurate diagnosis and did not make the connection between individual symptoms and menopause. GPs generally focused on offering HRT without suggesting alternative ways to manage symptoms. People felt they had to rely on their own research to get the full picture of options, particularly when HRT was not medically suitable or not chosen. However, accessing information about menopause was described as a ‘minefield’. The benefits of peer support were highlighted. People found that sharing experiences with others in the same situation made them feel more informed and less isolated. In the absence of any local support groups, many had found Facebook communities very helpful, along with a small number of support groups in the workplace. It was felt that increasing publicity and education about menopause would open up the topic for discussion and develop awareness generally.

Women would like to feel better informed well in advance of their symptoms starting. They want to know how and where to get reliable and comprehensive information and support when they need it. This exploratory research has uncovered gaps in information and support that leave women struggling alone, with significant impact on their health, work, relationships and quality of life. Improving menopause support would enable women to stay healthier for longer thus potentially reducing later demands on the health service.

Methodology:

An online survey was used to explore the experiences and needs of women in the local area. This was shared during March 2021 via local network of contacts and on social media. Responses were received from 65.

Suggested actions:

  • Commission information about menopause and support for the Living Well North Tyneside Platform
  • Consider additional training/briefing for GPs on wider support than HRT
  • Consider establishing a peer support group locally
  • Examine opportunity for training within workplaces

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General details

Report title 
Experiences of menopause support in North Tyneside
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch North Tyneside
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 1 September, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 March, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 1 March, 2021
Key themes 
Access
Diagnosis
Health protection
Holistic support
Information providing
Support
Other information of note about this report 
Good Practice

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
No
Primary research method used 
Survey

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
65
Age group 
All
Gender 
Female
Specific ethnicity if known 
All
Sexual orientation 
NA
Does the information include public's views? 
Yes
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
No
Does the information include staff's views? 
No
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Doctors
Nurses
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Negative

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
 
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
 
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.