Timpson lets employees claim hormone treatment therapy for menopause on expenses

Chief executive says it is ‘madness’ colleagues should have to pay

Zoe Tidman
Monday 18 October 2021 16:05
Comments
<p>HRT prescriptions cost on the NHS in England</p>

HRT prescriptions cost on the NHS in England

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Timpson employees are now able to claim prescription costs for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) - used to treat symptoms of the menopause - on expenses, the company’s chief executive has said.

James Timpson from the UK retailer, whose services including key-cutting and shoe repairs, said the policy came into force on Monday.

“It’s so important that we support our colleagues going through the menopause,” he tweeted.

The move received widespread praise on social media, with users calling it “brilliant”.

Labour MP Barbara Keeley said it was “amazing leadership”, while her colleague Toby Perkins praised it as “great work”.

HRT, which is used to relieve symptoms of menopause including hot flushes and night sweats, is available on prescription in England for £9.35 a time.

It’s madness colleagues should have to pay for a prescription for HRT,” Mr Timpson told The Independent after announcing the move for his company.

He highlighted the fact the treatment - which tops up hormones at lower levels - is already free on prescription in Scotland and Wales.

A cross-party group of MPs have called on England to follow suit and make HRT free.

A proposed law making HRT exempt from NHS prescription charges is due to face a second reading in parliament later this month.

Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP who sponsored the private member’s bill, recently told The Sunday Times she had enough support for this change in legislation.

Campaigners have warned women experiencing menopause are being forced to pay thousands of pounds for HRT.

The Independent has previously reported nearly half of women felt they had no other option but to turn to private healthcare to get treatment for menopause, which can lead to a host of symp palpitations, vaginal pain and depression.

“The menopause is a normal life event for women, but the symptoms are all too often ignored, undervalued and seldom taken seriously,” Mr Timpson wrote in The Sunday Times earlier this year.

“Hot flushes, fatigue, mood changes and brain fog not only affect home life and relationships but can also hijack careers.”

Mr Timpson added: “While it is not a company’s job to dispense HRT drugs, it is our responsibility to help colleagues receive advice and to create a culture in which they feel comfortable to ask.”

In a recent survey, nearly all - 99 per cent - of women polled felt their menopause or perimenopause symptoms negatively affected their careers, while most said it led to time off work.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said it was “deeply committed” to making sure women can get high-quality menopause treatment including HRT, which “can be a lifeline for women who are experiencing severe symptoms”.

The department added: “We are taking immediate steps to drive women’s health to the top of the agenda through the first government-led Women’s Health Strategy for England.”

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