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Prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) will be made cheaper in England, the government has announced.
Following campaigning by Labour MP Carolyn Harris, the government will reduce the cost of HRT for those going through menopause.
It could mean women only have to pay one prescription charge per year, saving up to £205.
At present, HRT prescriptions cost £9.35 each - or double, if a woman needs two different types - in England. They are currently free in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
HRT helps treat the symptoms of menopause - such as hot flushes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, vaginal dryness and mood changes - by replacing hormones that are missing or at a lower level.
HRT is available as tablets, skin patches, as a gel or implants.
"Working with NHS England, the government will look to implement longer prescribing cycles, in line with NICE guidelines, so women receive fewer prescriptions, reducing the need to pay frequent prescription charges. The government has asked NHS England to review current practice and the barriers to implementing NICE guidelines," the government announced online.
"This could mean women would only have to pay one charge for up to a 12 month supply of HRT, saving up to £205 per year as a result. To further improve access to HRT prescriptions, the government has also committed to look into combining two hormone treatments into one prescription, which affects approximately 10 per cent of women accessing HRT."
Alongside the reduced prescription costs, a Menopause Taskforce will be established and co-chaired by the Minister for Women’s Health, Maria Caulfield and Carolyn Harris MP.
The special task force will look at how education and training can be developed to support women going through the menopause.
Carolyn said: "Today is a result for women across the country. The bill was never about wins for either side of the political divide – it was about wins the 51 per cent of the population who will directly experience the menopause.
"The cost of HRT NHS prescriptions will be slashed – with the Government committing to working towards getting this down to a single prescription charge per year – and the new task force will look at all the other areas of support which are currently falling short and failing women.
"I look forward to working with the Minister to revolutionise menopause support in this country and being world leaders in changing the narrative on something that has been a taboo subject for far too long."
Meanwhile, Minister for Women’s Health, Maria Caulfield said: "We have heard loud and clear from women across the country and MPs that menopause support is a key issue we as a government need to do more to address.
"As a woman and a nurse, I am acutely aware of how challenging the symptoms of the menopause can be to live with. Cutting the cost of HRT – which can be a lifeline to women severely impacted by menopause - is a great stride forward, but there is more to do.
"I look forward to further addressing the menopause as part of the Women’s Health Strategy and working with Carolyn on improving support for women across the UK."
This is certainly a step in the right direction.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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