Today marks World Menopause Day, a day created by the International Menopause Society to raise awareness of what is a lifechanging event for half the world’s population. Disappointingly, the menopause has been a bit of a taboo topic, but these days it is great to see it being more widely discussed – a real testament to the positive change that days like today can make.

Last year, NATS launched its own internal menopause policy to support employees going through hormonal changes. One of our own Medical Officers, Dr Sarah Ewer, was a key contributor during the development of this policy. As part of her Master of Science degree, she carried out detailed research to aid the policy, surveying line managers to gather a picture of the support we offered to employees with menopause symptoms.

This research proved to be invaluable in shaping our own policy and the support offered to our employees and has now also contributed to positive changes in the CAA’s aeromedical guidance; combing the wider research from her MSc and our combined controller experience, Sarah made a convincing case for the CAA to update its Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) guidance.

The previous guidance enforced a mandatory 14-day unfit period for controllers who were starting treatment. Not only did that put off a lot of people who wanted to start HRT – which can make a big difference to their quality of life – but it also placed a considerable burden on our resourcing teams. To help put that into some context, in the past year alone, the NATS medical team has provided aeromedical advice regarding menopause and HRT to over 100 controllers – If all of these people were to then start treatment, that is a combined 1,400 days that we would have to have people signed unfit for operational duty.

Since April 2022, the CAA has allowed us special dispensation (for NATS controllers only) to be given a 48-hour unfit period instead of the official 14 days. However, after reviewing Sarah’s research, the CAA has now updated the guidance on its website that removes this mandatory period, empowering Aeromedical Examiners (AMEs) to decide on a case basis. This is a great step forward.

It’s not just policy changes that support those experiencing the menopause. Our internal Women’s Network offers advice and a dedicated safe space for members across NATS to talk about the menopause and any other issues.

On behalf of everyone at NATS, I want to congratulate Sarah for all her hard work and for influencing the CAA aeromedical policy which will now make a huge difference to the lives of people across the industry. It’s extremely positive news for all our colleagues, their families, and operational units, and one that we are thrilled to be marking on World Menopause Day.

You can view the new policy on the CAA website here – Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy (Appropriate to all certificate classes) 


Please respect our commenting policy and guidelines when posting on this website.

Leave a Reply


Please start typing and we will search our website for you.

Search Results