Periods at work: trust offers free sanitary products to staff
Shropshire trust’s initiative aims to ‘make a big difference to our staff’s comfort and well-being’ and support people during the cost-of-living crisis
A specialist hospital in England is paving the way to support nurses and other healthcare staff during their period with free sanitary products.
Tampons and pads have been made available to all staff at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) in Shropshire as part of ongoing cost-of-living assistance at the trust, and to support workers’ well-being.
Providing free period products is a ‘small but significant step’
RJAH said a trial with specific teams receiving free period products earlier this year received ‘great feedback’ and the decision was made to offer sanitary items to all staff at the trust.
The sanitary products are also sustainable – they are chemical and perfume-free, do not contain plastic and the packaging is biodegradable.
RJAH chief executive Stacey Keegan said: ‘This is a small but significant step to addressing women’s health in the workplace. Periods are a normal part of life and providing free period products for emergency situations can make a big difference to our staff’s comfort and well-being.’
Periods at work can cause stress and anxiety
Health unions and campaigners have long called for healthcare staff to have access to free period products in the workplace. There is no national guidance to compel employers to provide sanitary products, and decisions are usually made on a trust-by-trust basis. RJAH claims it is one of the first NHS trusts in England to give staff free period products.
Nurses have described the stress and anxiety caused by having their period at work, including not always being able to get hold of sanitary products or take breaks to change them.
Survey revealed extent of period poverty
The RCN has campaigned for UK-wide legislation to end period poverty for every person who menstruates. A survey by charity WaterAid last year revealed almost a quarter of menstruating people said they struggled to afford period products amid soaring living costs, with many forced to resort to makeshift materials such as toilet paper and sponges.
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