Patients ‘denied free access to sanitary products’ in hospitals

Two out of five hospital trusts and health boards in the UK do not provide free sanitary products.

Sarah Jane
4 February 2019
Menstrual tampons and pads on a calendar page

Patients in hospital are being denied access to free sanitary products, claims the BMA.

A significant number of UK hospital trusts and health boards provided little or no free sanitary products for patients, an investigation by the British Medical Association has found.


The investigation revealed two out of five hospital trusts and health boards in the UK do not provide free sanitary products but trusts usually supply razors and shaving foam.

None of the trusts and health boards which responded to the survey completed by the doctors union said they had a policy on sanitary products.

The BMA’s investigation is part of a wider campaign as it calls for sanitary products to be made freely available across all hospitals in the UK, as doctors say that it is essential to the health, dignity, and wellbeing of inpatients.

An impact on self-worth.

The BMA has written to NHS England asking for immediate action to be taken.


Eleanor Wilson, a member of the BMA medical students’ committee, said: “When patients are under our care in the NHS, we need to make sure that we make them feel as welcome and as looked after as possible.

“By not providing them with something so key to their health and wellbeing, it has a big impact on their sense of self-worth – we are effectively withholding that dignity from them.

“While some hospitals have good provision, in others, patients have had to face embarrassment and hope that relatives can bring them in.

“For some that is not an option, and it can often become more challenging for young and teenage paediatric patients.”


The topic of period poverty is due to be debated at the Royal College of Nursing annual Congress in May.

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