Slow response to claims family doctors have “shouted and laughed” at women with menopause

Menopause Support founder Diane Danzebrink says she has counselled women who have been “shouted at and laughed at” by their family doctors when trying to discuss menopause concerns.

She reveals it took several months to get a response in her candid video response (below) to the Royal College of General Practitioners.

“Clearly there is a huge amount of work to do “ she said after it took ten weeks for the Royal College of General Practitioners to provide an inadequate answer to some simple questions as to what women should do if they are not being helped by their doctors.

Diane has been pushing for answers to your questions around menopause. Questions have been asked of the General Medical Council (GMC), the Royal College of GPs, the UK professional body for general practitioners and to The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care.

Di says she has counselled women who:

  • Have been refused Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) by their GPs and told “it does not work”
  • Have been incorrectly told they were not eligible for treatment as they were smokers or suffered with migraine
  • Have been incorrectly prescribed HRT

Di says only a small paragraph at the end of the letter from the Royal College directly addresses her main concerns – and she pointed out that specialist facilities mentioned in the response are not available to all patients.

She vowed to continue the fight to make the medical authorities more responsive on the issues raised.

Di’s original letter to the RCGP follows, their response is to the left. Click for a larger version.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard

Royal College of General Practitioners
30 Euston Square

Dear Professor Stokes-Lampard

My name is Diane Danzebrink; I am the founder of Menopause Support which offers education, information, advice and emotional support to women and their families who are struggling with the symptoms of menopause. I am regularly told by women that their gp’s are refusing to prescribe HRT. Some doctors say they don’t agree with it, others say they think it doesn’t work, some say it just delays symptoms, some say their practice does not prescribe it. I have heard of women incorrectly informed that they are not eligible as they suffer from migraines or smoke etc. I have also counselled women incorrectly prescribed (oestrogen only for a woman who still has her womb) and in the last couple of weeks have spoken with women who have been shouted at and laughed at by their doctors when wanting to discuss menopause and hrt or told that menopause is just a phase of life that they will have to get on with.
The NICE menopause guidelines set out very clearly to gp’s what they should be doing but many are not following them and a shocking amount have never heard of them and certainly not read them. I have campaigned the RCGP to look at the curriculum and improve the depth, breadth and quality of teaching in this area to medical students and I am told a review is due very soon. Earlier this year I taught a menopause revision session to second year medical students at my local university, they had only been taught one forty minute, seven slide, lecture on the whole subject of menopause and appropriate treatments.

I would be very grateful for your advice on how women can approach gp’s who refuse first line treatment. Far too many are suffering in silence or being incorrectly diagnosed as depressed and prescribed antidepressants. Please advise what rights a woman has when her gp is refusing to prescribe hrt to her in situations similar to those described above. I am aware, of course, that there are some medical conditions that would preclude the option of hrt but I am referring to otherwise healthy women just hoping to ease menopause symptoms. Please also advise what can be done to increase the awareness and implementation of the guidelines amongst gp’s.
I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the issues outlined above.
I look forward to your reply. Yours Sincerely, Diane Danzebrink


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