Delayed diagnosis and treatment of menopause is wasting NHS appointments and resources

Published: 1st July 2021

Research of over 5,000 women has found that women in the UK are often struggling to receive treatment to improve their perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms, which is having a negative effect on their future health and quality of life. 

Perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms can negatively impact a woman’s wellbeing and quality of life. Women who would benefit from taking HRT (which provides more benefits than risks for most women) are still being denied this treatment option.

The survey of 5187 women has provided shocking results, clearly showing that women are struggling to receive prompt and accurate diagnosis for their menopause. 70% of the women surveyed were aged 45–55 years. Nearly all respondents (96%) reported experiencing menopausal symptoms (eg hot flushes, low mood, anxiety, memory problems, brain fog, joint pains), only 39% were menopausal and the others were perimenopausal. The majority (74%) had been experiencing menopausal symptoms for more than one year, 15% for more than six years.

Most women, 79%, had visited a GP with their symptoms and 7% attended more than 10 times before receiving adequate help or advice. Of those women who did eventually receive treatment, 44% of women had waited at least one year, and 12% had waited more than 5 years. However, the majority of women should be starting treatment in the first consultation as HRT is a safe treatment.

In terms of treatment, only 37% of women were given HRT and 23% were given antidepressants. The NICE menopause guidelines clearly state that the majority of women benefit from taking HRT and that antidepressants should not be given for the low mood associated with the menopause so these results are disappointing and contradict the guidance.

27% of women had seen more than three doctors in hospital about their symptoms and 99% of these women had hospital investigations undertaken for their menopausal symptoms; 8% had more than six hospital investigations. Of those women who had taken time off work to attend their hospital appointments, 76% had taken at least two days off work to attend them.

These figures alone highlight the wasted financial and other resources that are being used to help perimenopausal and menopausal women within an already stretched and exhausted healthcare system. In addition, the personal costs to these women attending unnecessary appointments and taking time off work to attend should not be underestimated.

The perimenopause and menopause can usually be diagnosed without any blood tests or investigations. Many women can actually make the diagnosis themselves and downloading the free app, balance - enables them to have individualised and evidence-based information to support the diagnosis.

There are health risks of delaying the diagnosis of the menopause including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and dementia which are diseases that all cost the NHS billions of pounds each year. Women who take HRT have a lower risk of these diseases and evidence has shown that the earlier women take HRT, the better it is for their future health.

Dr Louise Newson comments: "Our survey of over 5,000 women confirmed that women are still facing delays in getting a diagnosis for their perimenopause and menopause (44% waited more than a year) and they're waiting too long to get HRT, if it's prescribed at all. Only 37% of women were offered HRT, and nearly half of these had to wait over a year to get it. A third of respondents were referred to at least 3 different hospital specialists for further investigations when in most cases the perimenopause and menopause should be managed by a local GP practice. This is a huge waste of NHS resources including increasing the strain and workload to primary care not to mention women's time. Since May of this year, we are seeing a greater appetite from medical professionals, especially in primary care, to learn more about managing the menopause. This can't come soon enough for women who are struggling."


Research results here


Newson Health Menopause and Wellbeing Centre was launched in 2018 by leading menopause specialist and GP, Dr Louise Newson. Created to help women receive the most appropriate, individualised and holistic treatment for their perimenopause and menopause, it has quickly become a centre of excellence, providing care to women of all ages, both via remote consultations and in-person at clinics in Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwickshire.

A passionate and tireless campaigner for better menopause care for all women, Dr Newson has also founded the Menopause Doctor website, The Menopause Charity, the balance app, Newson Health Research and Education and written a best-selling Haynes Manual on Menopause.

The Menopause Doctor website is a free resource providing a huge amount of unbiased, evidence based information about the menopause and perimenopause for women and healthcare professionals. The site has been adopted by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) as an official educational library for menopause. Visit

The Menopause Charity was founded in 2020, with trustees including sustainable health expert Professor Matthew Cripps and media ambassadors Davina McCall, Lorraine Kelly, Liz Earle and Meg Mathews. The charity has many exciting plans to help women and their families and colleagues with the challenges caused by the menopause, including an educational website, professionally staffed helpline and fundraising for research activities. Visit

‘balance’ is a free app that was developed to enable women to track their symptoms, access personalised expert content, share stories and lots more. Get the balance app at

Newson Health Research and Education is a not-for-profit organisation from which all profits are invested back into the business. A Confidence in Menopause educational platform has been developed specifically for healthcare professionals and can be found at

The Haynes Manual on Menopause is a definitive guide to help women, their partners and families cut through the plethora of misinformation and take a straightforward look at menopause. Find out more at