- Boots is supporting team members experiencing menopausal symptoms by removing the barrier of prescription costs, an initiative that could help them save up to £224 per year
- c.8,600 Boots team members are currently in scope to access HRT which helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
- This is the latest move by Boots to offer greater support to women experiencing menopause
From April, Boots will cover the cost of its team members’ prescriptions for those able and wanting to take Hormone Replacement Treatment (HRT).
The initiative comes at a time when, despite 51% of the overall UK workforce expected to experience the menopause, its symptoms are too often overlooked and ignored, and the subject considered ‘taboo’. Research shows that symptoms such as hot flushes, fatigue, and low moods can affect home life and relationships, as well as careers, to the extent that some women leave the employment market altogether because they don’t get the support they need.
With 51,000 team members across the UK, made up of 80% women, this is the latest move from Boots to support an inclusive and open workplace culture. Around 8,600 team members are currently in scope to access menopause treatment and Boots research shows c.15% will likely receive HRT in England.
Ben Horner, HR Director at Boots said: “I am delighted to announce that Boots is breaking down the barriers to accessing HRT medication and that we will offer this significant support option to team members who may be experiencing menopausal symptoms. Women make up the majority of our Boots workforce, and we are focused on offering the support that will work best for them as they navigate this important life transition and other health concerns.”
Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Menopause in the House of Commons, said: “Whilst all women will experience the menopause, every woman’s experience will be different. Some will barely notice any symptoms, but for others the suffering can be unbearable – stressful, debilitating and completely life-changing. Changes such as this in the workplace will support all those experiencing the menopause in all roles and will make such a difference. It’s time all employers took menopause seriously and took action.”
Deborah Garlick, CEO, Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace, said: “We’re delighted to see the broad range of initiatives Boots is putting in place. From getting the conversation out into the open, helped their colleagues understand that they’re there for them if menopause gets in the way of them being their best, backed-up by this ground-breaking support is superb. This will help so many people, whatever their role, wherever they work in the organisation. Well done to everyone involved.”
In its ambition to become a menopause friendly employer, Boots is committed to creating a workplace culture where women can feel empowered to talk about the menopause transition and other important health issues and get the support they need. Recognising that HRT isn’t for everyone, and management of symptoms can benefit from a holistic approach, alongside offering to pay for HRT prescriptions, Boots has introduced a series of initiatives and support packages, all aimed at breaking down barriers, raising awareness and supporting team members experiencing the menopause. These include:
- Menopause at work guidance: During last year’s Menopause Awareness Month,Boots introduced Menopause at Work guidance for team members and line managers including e-learning modules designed to raise awareness and break down barriers associated with the transition.
- Menopause Network: The Women of WBA UK Business Support Group helped create a Menopause Network to encourage team members to learn more about the menopause, share experiences, and offer confidential connection and support.
- Counselling sessions: Boots’ employee support provider, available 24/7, offers information and free counselling sessions to talk through difficulties resulting from menopause and other health issues.
- Boots Online Doctor: Boots offers a discount for team members to the Boots Online Doctor Service where they can receive support on how to take HRT treatment as well as advice on how to manage menopause symptoms
- My Menopause Centre: Through the Boots Health Hub,team members as well as customers can access “My Menopause Centre”, an independent, impartial, and ad-free service which offers doctor led consultations, advice, and personalised treatment options, including a free symptom checker.
Alongside its support for team members, Boots offers a wide range of products and treatment options to customers who are experiencing menopausal symptoms including through:
- Boots.com: Through a dedicated menopause webpage on boots.com, Boots offers an extensive range of products to support over 40 signs and symptoms of the menopause and perimenopause.
- Boots pharmacists: Boots pharmacists continue to offer health and wellbeing advice to support menopause symptoms. They can also help patients to better understand prescription only medicine, such as HRT.
- Boots Online Doctor: Boots offers menopause and HRT treatment via an online consultation which is reviewed by a clinician who will provide advice and treatment if appropriate through its Boots Online Doctor service
Dorney Porter, Store Manager at Boots Sittingbourne, is one of the team members set to benefit from this Boots initiative. She said: “I am currently Store Manager at the Boots store in Sittingbourne and I have been with the company for 30 years. Recently I have been put on HRT patches to help with my menopause symptoms.
“I thought I was going crazy! I have never been a particularly angry person, but wow I was ready for a fight at any point. I thought that it was the stress of the pandemic that was causing my moods, but when I finally went to the doctor, I was told that it was likely to be the menopause.
“Since using the HRT patches, I have realised that I have been suffering with multiple symptoms for some time. I had just put it down to getting older! I am now much calmer and feel less anxious. I have been able to more rationally see the affect the menopause has had on my personality, which is something that I don’t think is spoken about enough and is part of the problem for many women of my age.
“I have never taken regular medication previously, but the HRT patches have helped me to manage my symptoms better. I have been able to speak more openly to friends and colleagues and have discovered that I am not the only person feeling this way.”
“I was genuinely ecstatic when I saw the message from Boots about HRT support. I feel that as women, we go through life paying extra, whether that be sanitary products, pregnancy goods, etc. Boots doing this for its team members shows it is listening and understands how the menopause affects women’s self-esteem and mental health, and that the cost of HRT can be a barrier for some women, preventing them from accessing the medicines that they need. I’m proud to work for a company who are taking the menopause seriously. This will make a big difference to myself and my team members who want HRT.”
Written evidence to UK Parliament from Health and Her, October 2021
 Boots’ research and statistics