(Picture: Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley)Over two fifths of hospitals do not supply tampons or sanitary towels to their patients.
And doctors want hospital trusts to do more.
The British Medical Association (BMA) submitted Freedom of Information requests to all trusts and health boards across the UK (223) and they found that of the 187 who responded, 42% said they don’t supply sanitary products at all or would only give them out in the case of an emergency.
Some said sanitary products are available on maternity and gynaecology wards but patients who have their period when they are in hospital for another reason are expected to supply their own.
But at 27 trusts (14%), there is nowhere to buy sanitary products, meaning patients who were unexpectedly admitted to hospital and who then started their periods, could be left without anything.
The full results
Does the trust/health board supply sanitary products?
Yes – 104 (56%)
Yes, small amounts/emergency only – 54 (29%)
No – 25 (13%)
Unclear – 4 (2%)
Total – 187
Are sanitary products available to purchase in the trust/health board?
Yes, but not all sites – 48 (26%)
Yes, but likely to be restricted at times – 47 (25%)
Yes, readily available – 28 (15%)
No – 27 (14%)
Total – 187
Some trusts and health boards supply razors and shaving foam to patients throughout their entire stay in hospital but they only supply sanitary products in an emergency and some do not have any towels or tampons available at all.
For those trusts and health boards that readily supplied products, the average spend was just £0.71 per bed per year.
(Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)Now, the BMA is writing to the Chief Executive of NHS England to ask for this to be changed.
In a letter, Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, Chair, BMA Board of Science, said: ‘Patients must not be deterred from undergoing necessary treatment, or hindered in their recovery, because they are unable to access, or embarrassed to request, sanitary products.
‘With patient experience and quality of care being such a clear priority for the NHS, sanitary products, which are relatively inexpensive, should be provided for free and readily available to all inpatients at hospital.
‘I do hope you will be available to meet me and my team to discuss our findings further, and the role that NHS England could play to implement the BMA’s recommendations to address this issue.’
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