Mission: Menopause

Our workforce is the greatest asset for supporting the 1.5 million people calling South Yorkshire home. ICS strategies highlight our vision of supporting staff wellbeing as a lever for retention, diversity and improved care. Our health and care organisations now collectively invest £2+ million annually in workforce engagement and wellbeing. We focus on prevention, leadership and crisis support to drive inclusion, wellbeing and learning culture. One of our most impactful initiatives is the ICS-wide ‘Mission: Menopause’

Within South Yorkshire ICS we have 72,000 members of staff with almost half (34,000) being women between the ages of 40 and 60.  Menopause is when menstrual periods stop. It is natural but drenched in stigma. Employers never mentioned it in policies, staff reviews, wellbeing conversations or workforce planning.

We needed to tackle this urgently because 46% of South Yorkshire’s health and care workforce are women around menopause age (34,000 of 72,000 staff); nationally, research suggests that 1 in 4 women reduce their hours or leave work due to menopause. In South Yorkshire, this equates to losing around 10,000 staff within five years, or 1 in 7 staff. So, it was essential that we raised awareness of the menopause and supported those affected by it as failure to do so would have a detrimental impact upon our workforce and the health and social care landscape across the area. 

Menopause directly impacts on patient care. Three quarters of women suffer menopause symptoms which could affect their ability to provide the best quality care to patients.  Almost everyone will be affected, either directly or through relationships at home or work. We recognise that the menopause is not just a 'women's issue'. Almost everybody will be affected by it, either directly or by knowing partners, family, friends or work colleagues experiencing the menopause. It was therefore vital that our organisations across South Yorkshire worked together in an inclusive way to become menopause friendly employers to allow for a sustainable culture change to take place. 

Do you work in Health and Social Care organisation in South Yorkshire? If so, are you interested in being part of South Yorkshire ICS Mission: Menopause? Together we can create Menopause Friendly workplaces across South Yorkshire. Come and join our Menopause community of practice. We have free bespoke training courses for anyone working in health and social care in South Yorkshire. If this is something you or someone in your organisation would be interested in, please email us on syicb-sheffield.hwb@nhs.net 

  • More than 3 out of 4 women experience menopause symptoms at some time.
  • 51 is the average age women reach menopause
  • 1 in 4 women experience serious symptoms which impact on their day-today life.
  • 2 in 5 women said their menopause symptoms had been worse than they had expected
  • 8 in 10 women of menopausal age are in work
  • 1 in 100 women reach menopause before the age of 40
  • Symptoms of the menopause can last up to 10 years.
  • Symptoms range from cognitive, physical and psychological symptoms (for example hot flushes, muscular aches, poor concentration, anxiety and headaches).
Source: NHS Employers (August 2021)

NHS England » Supporting people in early and late career

Recommended books

  • Menopause The One- Stop Guide by Kathy Abernethy
  • Management of the Menopause by Timothy Hillard, Kathy Abernethy, Haitham Hamoda, Imogen Shaw, Marian Everett, Julie Ayres and Heather Currie - published by the British Menopause Society
  • Amazing Grace Adams Fran Littlewood
  • Fearless Louise Michin
  • FAQs on Menopause Julie Robinson 
  • Cracking the Menopause: While Keeping Yourself Together Maria Frostrup with Alice Smellie  
  • Menopause: The True Story  Christa d’Souza  
  • What is Menopause?: A Guide for People with Autism, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities  Kate E Reynolds 
  • Menopausing: The Positive Roadmap to your Second Spring  Davina McCall with Dr Naomi Potter HarperCollins hardback 
  • The Change: Women, Ageing and the Menopause  Germaine Greer
  • Menopause: The Change for the Better Edited by Deborah Garlick and Henpicked 
  • The Complete Guide to the Menopause: Your Toolkit to Achieve Control and Life-long Health Annice Mukherjee 
  • Mindful Menopause: How to have a calm and positive menopause Sophie Fletcher 
  • Preparing for the Perimenopause and Menopause Dr Louise Newson 
  • The Complete Guide to POI and Early Menopause Dr Mandy Leonhardt and Dr Hannah Short 
  • Natural Menopause: Herbal Remedies, Aromatherapy, CBT, Nutrition, Exercise, HRT...for Perimenopause, Menopause and Beyond 
  • Quilt on Fire: The Messy Magic of Midlife Christie Watson  
  • Menopause: All you need to know in one concise manual (Concise Manuals) Louise Newson
  • It's Not You, It's Your Hormones: The essential guide for women over 40 to fight fat, fatigue and hormone havoc By Nicki Williams
  • Men... Let’s Talk Menopause by Ruth Devlin
  • The one stop guide to menopause by Kathy Abernethy
  • The New Hot: Taking on the Menopause with Attitude and Style by Meg Matthews
  • Midlife Women Rock by Breeda Bermingham


Prof Jo Brewis, explains why it's urgent and important for all employers to take menopause seriously: 
Menopause why it's urgent and important at work

Evelyn Dickey Former HR Director at Severn Trent, now Non-Executive Director at Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: 
Menopause Support - an essential part of your HR Tool Kit

Jog Hundle, a leading employment lawyer: 
Menopause and Employment Law

Sue Fish OBE, former Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police:
The importance of getting senior leaders on board 

Kathy Abernethy, former Chair of the British Menopause Society:
​​​​​Taking Menopause Conversations to the Next Level

Dr Louise Newson, a GP and a Menopause Specialist:

What is Menopause?

Mental health and emotional wellbeing in the perimenopause and menopause booklet

Antidepressants and menopause factsheet

What is reproductive depression?

ADHD and the perimenopause and menopause booklet

BBC news

Working women need greater menopause rights - MPs

The Body Coach & Dr Louise Newson, Menopause Specialist:

Perimenopause and Menopause Essentials

Clare Shepherd, Nutritional Therapist: 

10 Smoothie Recipes for Menopause - Your New Life Plan

Take our menopause quiz

Quiz questions:

  1. What is the average age that people reach the menopause in the UK?
  2. What is the key sign that you have reached the menopause?
  3. Which of the following statements about the menopause is true? a. It doesn't ever cause any symptoms. b. They symptoms are only mental. c. The symptoms are only physical. d. The symptoms are both mental and physical.
  4. Which of the following could cause the menopause to begin early? a. Surgery to remove your ovaries. b. Being underweight. c. Eating a poor diet. d. Not keeping physically active.
  5. Which of these things might help you to cope with hot flushes? a. Keeping cool. b. Eating spicy food. c. Dressing warmly. d. Having a hot drink.
  6. How long do hot flushes usually last?

Source: Bupa

  1. 51 - The average age of menopause in the UK is 51, but it usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. When the menopause happens between the ages of 40 and 45, it's called the early menopause. Before 40, it's called premature menopause.
  2. If you are aged between 45 and 55 and you haven't had a period for at least a year, there's a chance you have reached the menopause. You may have experienced changes to your menstrual cycle for a few years leading up to the menopause. This is called the perimenopause.
  3. Menopause symptoms can be both mental and physical. As well as physical changes, you may also notice changes to your feelings and mental health.
  4. Having your ovaries removed during surgery will cause you to experience the menopause. This is true even if you are young.
  5. Keeping cool is a good way to deal with hot flushes. Wear loose clothing, open a window, and have a cold drink. Try wearing layers, so you can take them off when you feel too warm and pop them back on again when you feel colder. You might find some things make hot flushes worse. Common triggers include, spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, smoking and stress.
  6. A hot flush usually lasts around four minutes, although some may last up to 10 minutes. They can happen at any time of the day. When they occur at night, they can cause 'night sweats'. Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms of the menopause and can often be described as a sudden feeling of heat spreading throughout the whole body.