A new workforce policy has launched across NHS Scotland in a bid to narrow health inequalities and improve women’s health.
The national menopause and menstrual health workplace policy has been introduced and reflects on recommendations made as part of report from the University of Glasgow.
The research, which was led by Professor Kathleen Riach, surveyed more than 6,000 women working across NHS Scotland and sought to better understand the lived experiences of women in relation to menopause and menstruation.
Summarised as MAPLE, the report featured five actions to help women across the health service, including:
- Micro-leave – organisations allowing for short-term leave
- Allyship – senior leaders providing positive messages, resources and support
- Physical environment – ensuring things like temperatures are controlled appropriately
- Line management – understanding the impact line managers can have on how welcome women feel in the workplace
- Education and awareness – teaching everyone across the workforce about menopause and menstruation
The new policy aims to foster an environment where women feel confident enough to raise health issues so solutions be put in place.
Scotland’s minister for women’s health, Jenni Minto, said: “It’s important to foster a culture of awareness and compassionate management in the workplace so women feel confident and comfortable in raising issues around their menopause or menstrual health.
“NHS Scotland’s policy will recommend a number of measures that will make work life easier such as flexible breaks and working arrangements.”
She continued: “This is a positive example of an employer taking proactive steps to reduce barriers to women’s health in the workplace and we hope it promotes equivalent efforts across the public, private and third sectors.”
Prof Riach added: “NHS Scotland’s new Menopause and Menstrual Health Workplace Policy marks a vital step in ensuring all employees are valued, supported, and recognised as an integral part of the country's workforce, no matter their age or stage of their reproductive lives.
“Healthier women mean a healthier economy. By identifying and scaling some of the best practice currently existing across the NHS Scotland workforce, as well as introducing new evidence-based practises, this policy will ensure the menstrual status of women is no barrier to jobs and careers in healthcare.”
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