Monday 4 March 2019 / 12:01 AM Jonathan Ashworth / NHS

End sanitary products indignity in NHS England

Labour slams lack of “basic dignity” as it reveals no English NHS Trusts have policies for providing sanitary products to inpatients and announces a plans to provide sanitary products in hospitals

Labour has today revealed that not a single NHS Trust in England has a policy for providing sanitary products to women during menstruation, as the Party announces a new policy to provide sanitary products in hospitals in England.

A Freedom of Information Request was sent to NHS Trusts in England to ask whether they have a policy on providing sanitary products during menstruation, for free, to inpatients in hospitals. Not a single of the 137 NHS Trusts responding said they had a policy on providing sanitary products to women in hospitals.

Speaking at the APPG on Women’s Health Annual Conference, Jonathan Ashworth MP, Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, will commit to introducing a Women’s Health Strategy in government and will join shadow Health Minister Paula Sherriff in announcing that the next Labour government will ensure that period supplies are available in every trust providing inpatient care in England.

The Labour Party would also ensure that trusts provide clear information to patients on how to access sanitary products in the literature distributed prior to a planned stay in hospital.

A lack of menstrual products is leading to profound inequalities for women across England, with some Trusts directing patients to products in hospital shops and others making decisions on a ‘case-by-case’ basis or as part of ‘dignity in care’.

Despite numerous trusts stating in their FOI responses that sanitary products can be provided to patients on demand by asking ward staff, there is currently no formal process for doing so.


Jonathan Ashworth MP, said:

Labour will introduce a women’s health strategy in government and we are today launching our consultation on what that strategy should look like.

“Labour has led the way in tackling period poverty and I’m shocked that hospitals are not routinely providing sanitary products to women who need them.

“It’s why I’m announcing today that the next Labour government will ensure supplies are available for all women in all hospitals across England. No female patients should be let down during their hospital stay because of a lack of sanitary products.”


Paula Sheriff MP, said:

“Going into to hospital is already a difficult and worrying time for most people, but for women who can’t afford sanitary products or haven’t had time to pack any supplies it is especially troubling.

“Patients aren’t asked to bring in their own toilet paper, or their own food, so why are they being asked to do that with sanitary products? NHS Trusts should recognise this and fully support women. It’s a matter of basic dignity.”