The NHS are set to start to provide free female sanitary products to inpatients this summer after leading doctors from the British Medical Association (BMA) wrote to Simon Stevens, Chief Exec. of NHS England, to highlight the issue.
The doctors wrote about the inequality surrounding how women in their care are required to source and purchase their own feminine hygiene products where some men are provided with razors and shaving foam free of charge.
However, some hospitals do already provide sanitary products to patients, but the new scheme is set to provide all patients under the NHS with the products.
Councillor Ruth Rosenau said this on the matter: “I welcome the announcement that hospitals will be providing sanitary products to all patients from July, but it’s a sad reflection when the argument was that many hospitals provide razors and shaving foam for men.”
The new scheme was warmly welcomed by the charity that Councillor Ruth works with, ‘Period Power’, who work to provide schools and charities with period products across the UK.
Linda Allbutt, a member of the charity, said: “I honestly think that if men had periods, we wouldn’t be talking about this today and having to insist that we have free products or have no tax on tampons, as they’re still, somehow, considered a luxury product. It’s an outrage.”
In February, the BMA said that two in every five UK hospital trusts and health boards did not give sanitary products to patients who needed them and only gave them in emergencies.
Councillor Ruth Rosenau said: “This again shows the inequality that we see embedded in our society. We supply men with products when ultimately they have a choice as to whether they shave or not, yet have to fight to provide women with an essential item. Women have no choice as to whether they have a period.”
Linda Allbutt was quick to point out that this new campaign and issue is not only for women, saying: “We can only get the respect that we deserve if all of us support each other, both men and women alike.
“There’s thousands of men who support what we are trying to do, they have daughters and wives, they understand. We’re not men-haters, we just need to be respected but all men and women as a society.”
Either way, both women open the new scheme and hope that it will bring more change to the way that female hygiene is approached in society.
Ruth Rosenau said, “I welcome any positive move to help address period poverty, not a new poverty, but certainly one that has increased under austerity measures.”
Whilst Linda Allbutt simply stated, “Let’s hope it’s the first step to getting these products readily available to women all across the country.”