Patients in Wales to be offered free tampons

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Women in all Welsh hospitals will have access to free sanitary products, the Welsh Government has announced.

It comes after a similar move was made by NHS England.

Wales’ health minister Vaughan Gething said it is unacceptable for anyone to not be able to access the products because they cannot afford them.

A recent survey found that two out of five hospital trusts and health boards in the UK do not give the products to people who need them.

Pressure has been growing on public bodies to tackle what has become known as “period poverty”.

A survey by Plan International UK in 2017 suggested that 1 in 10 women between 14 and 21 years of age had been unable to afford sanitary products.

Mr Gething said: “Currently the provision of sanitary products for hospital inpatients varies across Wales as each health board has their own policy. I want to ensure all women admitted to hospital in Wales can access these essential products.

“It’s unacceptable for anyone not to be able to access essential period products because they can’t afford them, particularly when they are receiving treatment in hospital.

“Patients should expect to receive the best possible care in comfort and dignity. I have asked our officials to work with NHS Wales to implement this policy as soon as possible.”

Last year the Welsh Government offered £1m to councils to distribute free sanitary products through community groups, schools and food banks.