First publicly funded menopause clinic opens in Ireland

Three further clinics are due to open across the country during this year.

Two people in consultation at a menopause clinic.
Image: Pexels

Ireland’s first publicly funded menopause clinic is now open and accepting patients. The facility which is housed at the National Maternity Hospital was officially launched at the end of last year, and is part of the Department of Health’s plans to improve menopause care in the country.

Funding was initially launched for the Holles Street service by Stephen Donnelly TD in September 2021, which is being supported through ring-fenced investment through the Women’s Health Fund.

Speaking on the opening of the menopause clinic in December, Donnelly said: “As women begin to utilise this specialist service from today, the Department of Health and the Women’s Health Taskforce welcome another important step on the road to better menopause care for women in Ireland.”

People who experience difficulties as a result of menopause are being encouraged to speak to their GP, who can now refer them to the new facility. However, there are some restrictions surrounding who can and cannot access the service. 

Speaking to RTÉ, Dr Deirdre Lundy who is the clinic lead explained that, “We’re only taking people from our catchment area, and only people who unfortunately have other medical problems, comorbidities we call them, that make it less straightforward for their GP or their practice nurse to give them advice.

“These would be people who’ve had certain types of cancer, heart disease, blood clots, immunological problems, like HIV where there might be hurdles to the normal hormone prescriptions that GPs would typically offer women in the perimenopause and menopause.”

Featured in GCN’s 356th issue, Noelle Brown described how “One-third of an Irish woman’s life may take place after their menopause and many experience premature menopause with little or no support.

“I spent the last year and a half feeling like my body was a ship that I was no longer in charge of,” she continued.

Today, Brown welcomed the arrival of the publicly funded clinic, saying: “[It’s] fantastic to hear the silence around menopause being lifted”.

She added, “From a queer perspective, one of the things I challenged in the research I was doing around menopause was talking to a lot of  lesbians who were going through menopause and said as couples, they were always told by the straight world ‘you’re lesbians and if you’re going through the menopause together it’s going to be much easier because you’re women living together as opposed to straight couples’ which sounds utterly bizarre and is completely untrue.”

While 10 to 20 percent of people who experience menopause do not suffer symptoms, Dr Lundy notes that the majority of those who do “struggle sometimes quite desperately to get answers”. The new menopause clinic will hopefully help to combat that.

The government has planned for the approval, funding, and establishment of three further specialist facilities across Ireland in 2022, with the Women’s Health Taskforce also supporting further initiatives such as a public menopause webinar, and the rollout of HR menopause training for the Civil Service.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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