Channel 4 employs around 1,300 people across the UK including offices in Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Manchester. Through its staff network, 4Womxn, it has challenged the stigmas around women’s health, as Pamela Bird, co-chair of 4Womxn, explains: “Women can experience difficulties conceiving, painful periods, endometriosis and problems with the menopause. At Channel 4, these issues could affect 59% of our workforce, so we have no intention of shying away from them.”
To support its employees, the organisation partnered with Hertility to launch a six-month trial offering reproductive health and hormone testing. This gave employees access to an NHS-approved health assessment and at-home blood test. This can diagnose conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis and provide advice on why someone may be struggling to conceive. Alongside this, it also ran a series of educational workshops focusing on reproductive health issues and hormonal wellbeing.
The trial, which started in November 2022, was well-received by Channel 4’s employees, with 32% of them using the test and 25% attending the workshops. Of those taking the test, 57% had at least one hormone out of range and 22% had a pre-existing reproductive health condition diagnosed. The trial also highlighted the benefit to the organisation, says Fiona McAllister, co-chair of 4Womxn. “We found that 43% of respondents had needed to take time off as a result of their reproductive health symptoms,” she says. “It makes good commercial sense to offer it.”
The positive feedback from the trial means that Channel 4 decided to renew its partnership with Hertility. All staff, including male employees who can order a test for a partner or adult child, can now claim one at-home hormone and fertility test a year. Additionally, the benefit has been enhanced with a free virtual consultation with a specialist doctor if required and, for those who struggled to collect blood themselves, the option of having a nurse visit their home to collect a blood sample. Bird adds: “We’ll also continue to offer education sessions and signpost employees to support in the event that they receive unexpected results.”