Should you go down the private route for HRT?
At present, we hear frequent horror stories of doctors prescribing antidepressants to women who go to them for help, knowing something is wrong with their hormones. Continually refused HRT when women request it and generally have to put up a fight to be heard, all at a time when they are already feeling vulnerable, anxious, and invisible. There is also a distinct lack of knowledge about menopause. It is reassuring to read that MP’s and doctors are attempting to raise awareness of the lack of support, but while we are fighting this war, there are still many women slipping through the net and feeling lost.
Statistics show that 58% of women struggle to get menopause support via their GP and 59% say they have difficulties working during menopause.
An internet search will give you the details of countless clinics offering HRT services, and knowing which service to contact can be a minefield. Here is a breakdown of the process and what you could expect to pay.
£5 consultation fee
There are a series of multiple-choice questions to go through, including what symptoms you are experiencing, your mood, a family history of cancer, have you have a hysterectomy, and do you have allergies.
Boots will also require your GP details and current blood pressure reading.
There is no individual consultation, just online questions, and then a clinician approves the medication.
Whilst the consultation fee is meagre, payment for any prescribed medication will beat the total market price.
For example- a 12 week supply of Everol Conti patches is £135, and Kilofen tablets are £40 for 84.
Initial consultation £275 (doctor) £160 (nurse)
Follow up appointment £215 (doctor) £130(nurse)
The consultation can be done by video call or in-person, depending on your location.
A private prescription will cost £35 plus the cost of the medication.
They quote an average cost of £14 per item, plus the £35 prescription cost each time.
However, your GP will be able to administer any future prescriptions if Newson Health issues a referral letter. A £50 letter charge would apply for this.
Newson Health recommends a three month or 6-month review. The cost of this follow-up is listed above.
There is a waiting list for the initial consultation.
You would not be able to claim back through any medical insurance.
The complete plan plus 12 months support is £250
Initially, there is a questionnaire and symptom checker online
After this, there is a 45-minute consultation; they would provide a care plan, 12 weeks later a 15-minute appointment, plus one year of support from BUPA nurses.
The prescription cost is included in the plan, although the cost of the medication is not. The prescriptions are issued privately. Therefore the HRT will be charged at the current rate per item. During a follow-up appointment, additional HRT can be prescribed.
To obtain further prescriptions, this would involve a 15 or 35-minute chargeable appointment. You can opt to be passed back to your GP for subsequent treatment/prescriptions. Your GP will decide what HRT treatment should be continued.
They are a little different as they advertise their appointment as like seeing your GP, but in the comfort of your own home, with more time and more tailored service.
Initial 35 minute online consultation £135
Symptoms reviewed with tailored advice given.
HRT Prescription planning
A comprehensive plan, including a treatment/prescription recommendation letter for your GP
Detailed patient notes that you can access at any time.
Very recently, Carolyn Harris MP won a battle in parliament. Parliament agreed to reduce the cost of prescriptions for HRT to one yearly charge instead of per prescription. Although scrapping HRT costs altogether wasn’t achieved on this occasion, the outcome was fabulous and will hopefully pave the way for more women to access medication.
In summary, there are many factors to consider when opting for private care.
Affordability is a significant issue. If you can afford to pay for these services, you will get a more tailored service.
Another important consideration is how accessible your GP is and how likely they are to listen.
The private clinics will allocate a set amount of time for consultations – on average, 30-45 minutes. Compare this to the 10 minutes you will be given by your GP. Is this enough time to go through all of the symptoms and get an accurate diagnosis?
If you are in full menopause, it does seem to be a little more straightforward. The absence of a period for 12 months, plus the usual symptoms – hot flushes, insomnia, night sweats can make a diagnosis pretty clear. It is much more difficult for those in perimenopause – periods may be erratic, and anxiety may be more significant. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is often the case.
Thank you to Nikki Blackwell for researching and writing this post. No parts are sponsored. Should you wish to connect with any of these healthcare centres the links are in the titles. We would be grateful if you would mention that you obtained details through this website.