Menopause supports must be accessible for all women – David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has challenged the Health Minister to do more to support women experiencing menopause.
Earlier this month, Sinn Féin launched a policy document outlining healthcare and workplace supports which should be in place to meet women’s needs.
Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Teachta Cullinane said:
“Between November and January, I conducted a survey to hear directly from women about their experience with menopause and access to supports and healthcare services. More than one-thousand women gave their perspective and shared their personal experiences with supports, treatments, and the general impact on their health. We heard from women across the island, from the north and from the south.
“The survey results showed that 98% of respondents believe that the Government is not doing enough to support women experiencing menopausal symptoms. 88% feel that there is still a stigma in Irish society around discussing this issue. Because of this, many women are not comfortable discussing their concerns with their doctors.
“85% of survey respondents do not believe that healthcare professionals in Ireland are equipped to give advice on those issues. Many doctors themselves will admit that they are not equipped, because they have never had the opportunity to learn.
“I would like to use this opportunity to voice the concerns which women raised with me, and place them on the record:
‘Personally, I feel women’s health issues go underdiagnosed or not seen as important’
‘Medical care for women is incredibly lacking in this country, you don’t get listened to and languish on waiting list for years’
‘In general, women are and have been treated appallingly by the State. Childcare and women’s issues are a disgrace, way behind the times and other countries in these matters’
“Women and stakeholders were unanimous in saying that it is far too difficult to get access to trusted and relevant information on symptoms, especially in rural areas which are not served by private clinics.
“There is also a lack of access to Hormone Replacement Therapy, and many women have found themselves in a very complicated situation without access to treatment.
“Given that it is a condition which affects almost every woman at some point in their lives, for a number of years, it is indicative of a wider failure to support women and address their health needs.
“I want to be absolutely clear that I am not placing blame on the doctors. Doctors are not the problem – they are a huge part of the solution.
“But the political system and the medical profession need to do better for women and make sure that doctors are equipped and resourced for real gender equality in healthcare provision.
“We need to invest in women’s healthcare. If we do not take a big step in that direction, we will continue to fail women in this State.”