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Thursday, Dec 08, 2022

HRT tsar returns to role overseeing Covid boosters

HRT tsar returns to role overseeing Covid boosters

Madelaine McTernan, who was recently appointed hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) tsar, to help deal with UK supply issues, has returned to her role overseeing vaccines, ahead of the planned autumn Covid booster campaign.

Access to the medication for menopause symptoms has improved over the four months she has been head of the HRT Taskforce, the government says.

But stocks of some products remain low.

And that means some prescribing limits and swaps will continue, for now.

Serious-shortage protocols that limit dispensing to three months' supply and allow specified alternative products to be supplied if necessary will remain in place for 12 HRT products, including some gels and creams containing oestrogen.

Women unable to obtain HRT medication because of shortages have had symptoms including:

*  migraines

*  severe backpain

*  hot flushes

Some say they have turned to the black market or private prescribers.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said women's health was a priority for government and it would ensure everyone who needed HRT could access it.

"Madelaine's work and that of her taskforce and the department has been vital and her recommendations will ensure progress in HRT supply continues," he said.

Ms McTernan said: "I want to thank suppliers and manufacturers for their engagement and positive action to tackle this serious issue.

"I have presented my key learnings on how the department can continue to manage HRT supply and work with the industry as it continues efforts to meet rising demand."

The Covid booster campaign will start on 5 September in England, with housebound people and those in care homes the first to be offered jabs.

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