Health Minister “unable to work with you” on menopause..

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health Jackie Doyle-Price was recently reported as saying “Women struggle to get their needs met by doctors because the profession is “overwhelmingly male”.

Doyle-Price, (pictured left), the minister for mental health, said that in her experience, many women felt “patronised” and “diminished” when trying to access health treatments. In an interview with the House magazine, she expressed concern that women often felt unable to have a proper conversation with health professionals.

But the Minister’s spokesman has told us she is “currently unable to work with you” on the subject of menopause.

And her advice to anyone who feels their needs are not being met by their GPs or health professionals is to use the complicated NHS complaints procedures.

Menopause Support’s Diane Danzebrink says while she agrees with the Minister on the attitude of doctors, she would love to know what exactly the government is going to do about it.

“In March I wrote to Jackie Doyle-Price and her department’s response was, basically,  if you are not happy, complain.”

“This is just not very constructive for women who have plucked up the last threads of their courage just to make an appointment.”

“I have previously written to both Jeremy Hunt and shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth but have not received replies from either of them. The response from Jackie Doyle-Price’s “Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries” aide – published below -is equally unhelpful” she added.

Our ref: DE-1125906

Dear Ms Danzebrink,
Thank you for your correspondence of 25 March to Jackie DoylePrice about the menopause.  I have been asked to reply.

Whilst I note your concerns, I am afraid the minister is currently unable to work with you on this subject.

The Government and the NHS rely on healthcare professionals to use their clinical judgement in deciding which treatments and therapies would be most beneficial to their patients.  A patient who is dissatisfied with any aspect of their treatment has the option to hold the NHS to account through its complaints process.  The NHS complaints procedure exists to resolve concerns and to help local NHS organisations learn from the experiences of their patients.

Primary care services are commissioned by NHS England.  To make a formal complaint about services provided by a GP practice, the patient has the option of writing either to the practice manager or to NHS England.

If, when she has received a response to her complaint, the patient is not satisfied, she can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, who is independent of the NHS and of Government, to review the case. 

I am sorry I cannot be more helpful.

Yours sincerely,
Malcolm Jones
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health and Social Care