Tens of thousands of women have already accessed the newly launched hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause symptoms, which sees a year’s worth of treatment for £19.30.

Health officials say the prescription pre-payment certificate, which is valid for 12 months, could benefit around 400,000 women, by saving them money.

It can be used against a list of HRT products including patches, tablets and topical preparations.

Around 37,700 certificates have already been purchased, both via the online website and in-person in pharmacies, following the launch of the Hormone Replacement Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC) on Saturday 1 April.

As a result of these new certificates, it has been estimated women have saved over £1.13 million in prescription charges for the year, with the average person saving £30 for a year’s supply.
The creation of a bespoke HRT PPC means women can access HRT as many times as they need across the year, easing pressure on supply, paying a one-off charge equivalent to two single prescription charges (£19.30) for all their HRT prescriptions. The HRT PPC can be applied for and used on or after 1 April 2023.
The new prescription pre-payment certificate is predicted to enable around 400,000 women to have cheaper access to menopause support.
That’s the estimated number of women currently going through menopause in the UK, equates to around one-third of the entire female population.

‘A lifeline’

Mrs Akhtar, 51, whose menopause symptoms were so severe she had to quit her job, says the new scheme is a lifeline for women like her.

“My mental health was hugely affected. I wasn’t getting sleep, I would get anxious at random times during the day and I would fly into a rage when anything annoyed me. My husband and children were constantly in the firing line.

“At work, I got to a point where I just had to leave the job. I was suffering from brain fog, panic attacks and would find myself often making excuses in the morning to not go into work.

“I’ve been on hormone replacement therapy for just under a year, and it has changed my life. I believe there just isn’t enough awareness and understanding around menopause. It doesn’t just affect the woman going through it – it affects everyone around her as well.

“The cheaper annual prepayment certificate is a lifeline. With a squeeze on money with the cost of living, my HRT treatment doesn’t have to be compromised.”
Minister for Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield said: “Delivering on our promise to make women’s health a priority comes with challenges – but it is hugely important to everyone, and I am massively proud of the work we have done.”
Michael Brodie, chief executive of the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), said: “We are proud to be delivering the HRT PPC, which is a great addition to the range of NHS services we offer to help people manage their health costs.”

To buy a HRT PPC visit: https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/help-nhs-prescription-costs/nhs-hormone-replacement-therapy-prescription-prepayment-certificate-hrt-ppc

What is menopause and HRT?

Menopause has a variety of physical symptoms such as tiredness, night sweats, insomnia, hot flashes, memory loss and tension.

During menopause, it’s common for menopause to impact mental health too.

Symptoms include mood changes such as irritability, sadness, lack of motivation, aggressiveness, problems focusing, stress, difficulty concentrating, and depression. Much like constant premenstrual syndrome (PMS), these effects can cause emotional strain.

As women approach the menopause, their levels of the hormone oestrogen fluctuate and decline.

Oestrogen has many roles – it helps regulate menstrual cycles, contributes to bone strength and influences the temperature of our skin. As oestrogen levels become unstable, people can experience a range of symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety and joint pain.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be an effective treatment for most women going through menopause and perimenopause. Many of these symptoms pass after a few years, but they can be unpleasant and taking HRT can offer relief for many women.