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REPORT FINDS NURSES DONATING SANITARY PRODUCTS TO DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY PATIENTS

Nurses have had to donate their own sanitary products to patients in or run errands to shops to buy them, new research has revealed. 

The research has found that patients in hospitals at Dumfries and Galloway who have run out of sanitary products are forced to either go to a shop to purchase new ones or nurses are donating products to patients.
 
An investigation by Scottish Labour found that no health board in Scotland has a policy on the provision of sanitary products to hospital in-patients.
 
In some cases, the research found that nurses are expected to take on the responsibility of providing sanitary products to patients.
 
NHS Dumfries and Galloway confirmed that in situations of immediate need “nurses would help by providing from their personal supplies” or “if necessary nurses will run into town – either using petty cash or the patient pays for it”.
 
In general, the responses placed an expectation on patients who experience menstrual or menopausal bleeding to bring their own sanitary protection products, ask family and carers to supply them or purchase them from the hospital shop – with nurses expected to help in emergency situations. 
 
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “These are very shocking revelations from the NHS. For there not to be any policy in place for when a patient requires sanitary products but does not have any with them is not acceptable.
 
By its very nature not all visits to the hospital can be so well prepared for and to expect nurses to use their own money or their own personal supplies for patients is simply deplorable.
 
Not a single health board in Scotland has a policy in place to meet the menstrual care needs of hospital in-patients.
 
Access to sanitary products is fundamental to human dignity, health and wellbeing, so this is unacceptable and needs to change. It should be the case that sanitary products are freely available in hospital bathrooms for anyone who needs them. 
 
Despite the expectation from some health boards that women should always be prepared, when someone needs to use these sanitary products can be unpredictable and illness can have an impact. It beggars belief that NHS chiefs don’t understand this and expect nurses to go into their own purses or leave the ward to run to the nearest shop to maintain the dignity of patients. 
 
Equally, we can’t risk hospital patients using sanitary products for unsafe lengths of time because they are relying on visitors to bring them. 
  
I am calling on the Government to take immediate action to ensure the NHS are providing sanitary products on wards, and develop formal policies to ensure that every patient who needs them has the ability to access sanitary products.”
 
Analysis of Freedom of Information response from NHS Dumfries and Galloway. It should be noted no health board has a standard policy in place but many do provide products within, for example, in hospitals. 
 
NHS Board
1.       Policy
2.       Details of Policy
3.       Practice – what happens if a patient runs short
Dumfries and Galloway
No policy
n/a
Acute and Diagnostic Areas
No process for the provision of these products – if a patient runs short during hospital stay there may be a small supply on some wards or can be purchased from the League of Friends shop.
 
Community Health and Social Care
No process for the provision of these products – generally the age group is not one which would require this but if necessary nurses will run into town – either using petty cash or the patient pays for it.
 
Paediatrics
No process for the provision of these products - if paediatric patient requires this parent/carer would be contacted to bring products in. In immediate situation nurses would help by providing from their personal supplies.
 
Midwifery
No process for the provision of these products - maternity slightly different in that sanitary products are for post birth bleeding. Women are asked to bring their own and this is in the information on what to bring in to hospital although we do stock sanitary pads so if women forget or run out they can use ours.
 
Mental Health
No process for the provision of these products - wards keep a small supply of sanitary products available to support patient’s immediate needs. Expectation would be that patients purchase their own once they have access to obtain these, i.e., from home or shop.

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