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We want answers about the HRT shortage

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Mumsnet, Gransnet, menopause survey, HRT shortages, Department for Health and Social Care, train GPs, solve HRT crisis, Who is taking responsibility for this crisis?

According to government figures, around 360,000 prescriptions of HRT for menopause symptoms are dispensed each month.

Women taking HRT have been having trouble getting hold of their medications for several months, and 15 HRT products are reported to be entirely out of stock.

A new survey of over 1,500 women by Mumsnet and Gransnet has suggested that the recent shortages of some HRT medications have affected large numbers of women.

43 per cent of those taking HRT say they’ve been affected by current shortages.

40 per cent have been told by a pharmacist or GP their current HRT medication is not available.

8 per cent of those going through the perimenopause and 35 per cent of those going through the menopause say they are on HRT, despite it being a NICE recommended treatment for symptoms associated with the menopause and perimenopause.

16 per cent of those who sought help for menopause symptoms said their GPs wrongly prescribed anti-depressants, and 24 per cent said they complained to their GP for a year or more before being prescribed appropriate medication or help.

9 per cent of women surveyed thought the press was guilty of scaremongering about HRT risks, and 40 per cent said that press stories about HRT risks make them anxious and less likely to consider taking HRT. Only 13 per cent believed the press got its coverage of HRT scares ‘about right’.

Mumsnet and Gransnet have now launched a campaign to get a better deal for women going through the menopause.

The campaign calls on the government to end the HRT shortage once and for all, and to provide more menopause training for GPs, and ensure that anti-depressants are not prescribed where HRT is more clinically appropriate.

Bizarrely, despite the shortages affecting so many women, it seems nobody really knows why there is a lack of HRT medication, or why specific problems at individual manufacturers – around the adhesive used in some patches –  would result in a nationwide problem affecting so many different forms of HRT.

The problem may be complicated, but Mumsnet and Gransnet think the responsibility for sorting it out lies with the Department for Health and Social Care and, ultimately, with the government.

Some measures have already been taken, but the aim is for a wholehearted focus on this issue, until women can get their prescriptions without fuss, stress or delay – and definitely without having to chase around umpteen pharmacists, consider buying medication online or even having to travel abroad to get the medicine they need.

How you can help:

If you have one minute:

Please use social media to ask party leaders to commit to resolving this issue quickly and decisively if they form the next government.

Here’s an example of a Tweet you could send:

Dear @JeremyCorbyn @BorisJohnson @JoSwinson. The HRT shortage has been going on for months with no end in sight. Will you act quickly and decisively to #endtheHRTshortage if you become PM? https://tinyurl.com/y4bfctoq

If you have three minutes:

Use Who Can I Vote For? to find candidates standing in your local constituency, and use social media or their email addresses to ask them to make the commitment.

Here’s a sample Tweet:

Dear [candidate tag] – I’m a voter in [constituency name] and if you’re elected, I’d like you to put pressure on the new government to #endtheHRTshortage once and for all. Are you in? https://tiny.mn/334H07V

If you have five minutes:

Letters or emails to candidates are often given a bit more weight than social media posts.

If you have personal experience of the HRT shortage, or know friends or family who are affected, you could email or write to candidates in your constituency asking them what their party plans to do about the shortage. Do let us know if you get any responses.

And if you have any thoughts you’d like to share, you can say what you think on this thread.

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