Xantha Leatham

Daily Mail

The Daily Mail’s ‘Fix The HRT Crisis’ campaign is unique in that it resonates with the majority of the British population. All women will go through the menopause, and some with symptoms so crippling it forces them to leave work and even feel suicidal.

Meanwhile husbands, sons, fathers and uncles have to watch from the sidelines as their beloved female family member suffers from horrible hot flushes, brain fog and irritableness.

Menopause is frequently cited as a reason for marriages breaking down, and can also trigger bouts of depression. However, with the introduction of hormone replacement therapy in the 1960s, things began to change. Suddenly, women found there was an answer to their symptoms – of which there are more than 30.

Unfortunately, 60 years on, campaigns are still required to get women the information and treatment they so desperately need. Desperate sufferers have spoken of meeting up in car parks to swap their HRT medication thanks to a supply crisis. Women say they waste years of their lives trying to convince their GP something is wrong, only to be sent away with anti-depressants.

A postcode lottery means some treatment is available in parts of the country, while in neighbouring counties women are forced to visit dozens of pharmacies to get their hands on their medication.It can cost women around £200 a year for their HRT prescriptions. While this may not seem much to some, the cost of living crisis is placing a squeeze on finances – and mothers will most likely go without their medication than see their child go without food.

Our campaign launch was celebrated by MPs, experts, campaigners, women and men up and down the country. Our five manifesto points were carefully curated to call for urgent and necessary change. And we have achieved tangible results.

Less than a month after our campaign launch, the government announced a Serious Shortages Protocol (SSP) allowing pharmacists to substitute treatments. Until then, women had been forced to traipse back to their GP if pharmacies run out of their medication. And recently, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency made the decision to make a particular form of HRT available over-the-counter in a landmark UK first.

The timely Women’s Health Strategy for England also confirmed that trainee medics will soon start to be assessed on topics such as the menopause. Our campaign has contributed to an increased wider understanding of the menopause and HRT. Both issues are now a regular topic of conversation – at the breakfast table, on TV programmes and on social media.

More needs to be done, and the campaign is ongoing.

But in true Daily Mail fashion, we have gone big and hard on this campaign, and can genuinely say we have made a difference to people up and down the country.