Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Head of vaccine taskforce to use Covid lessons to tackle HRT shortage

Protests outside the Houses of Parliament over HRT (PA)
Protests outside the Houses of Parliament over HRT (PA)

Lessons from supplying millions of Covid-19 vaccines rapidly throughout the UK will be applied to tackle the shortage in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has appointed Madelaine McTernan, director general of the Vaccine Taskforce, to lead a new HRT taskforce.

The DHSC says the taskforce will apply lessons it has learned from rolling out the coronavirus vaccine.

Science and Technology Commitee
Madelaine McTernan (House of Commons)

Ms McTernan said: “We will apply the key learnings from the successful way the Vaccine Taskforce have procured life saving vaccines during the pandemic to help ensure women have reliable ongoing access to these critical medicines.”

It comes as demand for HRT products in the UK has been increasing over the last few years due to greater menopause awareness and GP confidence in prescribing treatments.

HRT can help alleviate severe menopause symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, low mood, anxiety and difficulty sleeping.

But DHSC says the increase in demand is also one of the factors causing shortages among a small number of products, including oestrogels – ointments containing oestrogen that are rubbed into the skin.

DHSC says the HRT Taskforce will work closely with suppliers to understand what is causing the issues.

It will then develop plans for what can be done to ensure both short and long-term supply meet rising demand.

The team will also work with NHS Business Service Authority to gather data, with the aim of improving the understanding of supply and demand as well as what is driving shortages.

Meanwhile, it will engage health bodies like the Royal College of GPs and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee to ensure they respond to the increased demand.

Cabinet Meeting
Health Secretary Sajid Javid (James Manning/PA)

Mr Javid said: “I understand how much women rely on HRT which is why we will leave no stone unturned to help make sure women can get the HRT they need.”

“That is why I have taken decisive action to appoint Madelaine McTernan to Head of the HRT Taskforce who will use her excellent skills and expertise to build on the success of the Vaccine Taskforce to bolster supply of vital medicines to women across the country.”

Maria Caulfield, minister for women’s health, said: “It’s great we’ve seen demand for HRT rise so much over the last year as it means women are accessing the right support.

“HRT can help women manage severe, sometimes debilitating, symptoms of the menopause, allowing them to stay in workplaces and live more normal lives.

“I want all women to feel empowered to speak to their GP about whether HRT would be appropriate for them, and for GPs to feel confident in prescribing.

“The new Taskforce will play a vital role engaging with suppliers, stakeholders and across government to make sure every avenue is explored to ensure all women who want HRT can access it.”