Campaigners including Royal Pharmaceutical Society Chair for England, Thorrun Govind, have called for greater understanding about and more support for the menopause.

Speaking at a rally at parliament for World Menopause Day on Monday led by campaign group Menopause Mandate, Ms Govind said that such support could be delivered through community pharmacies, but targeted funding would be needed.

She spoke about the difficulties and inequalities around accessing menopause support, particularly within communities where it is still rarely talked about.

'People are scared about going into clinical rooms, that’s the advantage of a community pharmacy. We work so hard to gain that trust. As a healthcare professional that’s really important,' she said.

Pharmacists could play a key role in education around women’s health, including menstruation and menopause, but that they needed to be properly funded to do so, for instance through a service like CPCS or Pharmacy First, she added.

In a tweet after the event, Ms Govind said: ‘Every single person I spoke to understood there was a greater role for pharmacy here – pharmacy teams need targeted resource and funding to support women.’

She told The Pharmacist that pharmacies played a key role during the pandemic to help overcome vaccine hesitancy, which she said demonstrates that they are ‘ideally placed in the community to support those conversations about the menopause.’

She also highlighted the accessibility of pharmacies, adding that for most people, a pharmacy is a 20 minute walk away, ‘which is really important especially when we are in a cost of living crisis’.

She added that there was still a lack of education around women’s health, despite recent conversations prompted by media coverage over the last year.

Yet Ms Govind argued that there was a huge appetite from women for guidance around the menopause and that pharmacists were well placed to provide it but needed to be funded to do so.

‘We must make sure with new initiatives that there is funding that follows. Menopause support is definitely sought after by the public, a lot of the public are seeking this support from healthcare professionals. So it's important that we recognise that and that the government recognises that,’ she said.

She added: ‘We need more services like the Community Pharmacy Consultation Service to assist women. It would be great to see that rolled out more widely.

‘A Pharmacy First approach, which the government has been talking about for a while now, is not just about minor ailments – we also have a key role to play in women’s health. But as I say, we do need resource and backfill [to cover training time] to be able to do our best and support our patients.’

The Menopause Mandate event was attended by MPs including shadow health secretary Wes Streeting, Kim Leadbeater and Carolyn Harris. Menopause Mandate patrons Cherry Healey, Michelle Griffith Robinson, Penny Lancaster, Lavina Mehta, Lisa Snowdon and Carol Vorderman also took part.

Founder Mariella Frostrup said: 'At Menopause Mandate we intend to ensure that every woman, every GP, every workplace and every one of us has the education, support and access to treatment that women need to make life less of a struggle through their menopausal years.'

Panel events on Menopause and Misdiagnosis, Menopause in the Workplace and Menopause, Diversity and Community were followed by a rally by College Green, Westminster.

On Monday the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education launched a new menopause learning gateway, while the former president of the British Menopause Society said that more awareness is needed.