Working with NHS England, the government says it will look to implement longer prescribing cycles 'in line with NICE guidelines', so women receive fewer prescriptions, meaning they pay fewer prescription charges. The government has asked NHS England to review current practice and the barriers to implementing NICE guidance.
Further informationView HRT drug records
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.
To further improve access to HRT, the government will also look at the possibility of combining 2 hormone treatments into one prescription, so women only pay a single charge. It says this change would benefit around 10% of women accessing HRT.
The commitments were made in Parliament on 29th October at the second reading of a private members' bill brought by Labour MP Carolyn Harris.
The government also announced that menopause will form a central part of the first ever government-led Women’s Health Strategy, which will consider how to improve access to HRT 'including through education and training for clinicians on symptoms of the menopause and to ensure HRT is being prescribed to women who would benefit from it'.
In addition, a new cross-government Menopause Taskforce will be established, co-chaired by the Minister for Women’s Health, Maria Caulfield, and Carolyn Harris MP. The taskforce will consider the roles of education and training, workplace policies and peer groups in supporting women 'through what can be a mentally and physically challenging time'.
Ms Harris 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 for the 51% 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 taskforce 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.'