Donnelly wants menopause included in school curriculum

Donnelly wants menopause included in school curriculum

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly at the launch of the menopause awareness campaign at the Department of Health on Friday afternoon. Picture Colin Keegan/ Collins 

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said he thinks learning about menopause should be included on the education curriculum for pupils.

Mr Donnelly was speaking as new research commissioned by the Department of Health revealed symptoms go beyond hot flushes with more than half of Irish women reporting joint pain, insomnia, and lack of energy while going through the menopause.

A new countrywide campaign ahead of menopause awareness day on Tuesday seeks to increase awareness and reduce the stigma associated with this phase of life for women.

Mr Donnelly did not say whether he has spoken to Education Minister Norma Foley about including menopause on the curriculum but said the awareness campaign may prompt that question.

He has previously announced funding for the opening of six specialist menopause clinics countrywide for women with complex issues to attend, with the Rotunda to open on Tuesday.

Research revealed three-quarters of women over the age of 35 have either entered peri-menopause and women report experiencing up to seven symptoms at any given time.

More than half of women described ‘the change of life’ as a negative experience and 86% of women said it had a big impact on their everyday lives.

'Difficult winter' ahead

Meanwhile, Mr Donnelly said the Department of Health was “having a conversation” on how to encourage voluntary mask-wearing as he warned it will be a “difficult winter,” regarding flu and Covid-19.

He said there was no expectation to bring in mandates or restrictions and that the country is in a phase of living with Covid-19, though he warned hospitals would be under pressure this winter.

He said through the summer there had been record presentations into emergency departments, particularly those aged over 75 coming in sicker because they were less resilient having stayed indoors during the pandemic.

Mr Donnelly said as well as permanent capacity built into the system, the winter plan allows for the hiring of 600 staff and the plan is to try and keep people out of hospital where possible.

He said his belief is Ireland has far less emergency medicine consultants than the number we should have.

Some hospitals have sanction for eight consultants when across the world, the same size hospitals had up to 17, he added.

The minister said one of the things that had to happen, and was not happening everywhere at a level that was acceptable, was “we have to have consultants in the emergency department until midnight".

He said in some hospitals work is being left to junior doctors at some of the busiest and most stressful times and that is “not acceptable” to him.

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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