NSW has become the first state to commit to making period products free for those who need them in statewide health services. It’s about bloody time! Literally!
NSW Health published a bulletin in early April confirming all health services now need to provide period products to people who can’t supply their own.
It said in the bulletin access to period products such as pads and tampons is “an essential need”.
It also instructs Local Health Districts and Specialty Health Networks to take a number of steps to ensure the change happens. That includes ensuring the “supply of tampons and pads” to all NSW Health Services.
Staff will also be provided info and potentially training about how to provide the products to people who need them.
The bulletin outlines the difficulties faced by people who menstruate, noting a sense of shame or stigma, financial constraints, communication barriers, lack of trust and cultural safety.
It’s a huge step forward amid a sustained campaign by Share The Dignity. The organisation aims to support people who menstruate through times of crisis and period poverty. It started the #PadUpPublicHealth campaign calling for public hospitals to stock free products for people with periods.
In just five days, the #PadUpPublicHealth federal petition gained over 24,000 signatures. It ultimately received more than 53,000 signatures. Now that’s impressive.
The organisation has also installed a number of period product vending machines in health services across the country.
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“I am delighted that NSW has become the first state or territory in Australia to #PadUpPublicHealth,” said Share the Dignity founder Rochelle Courtenay in a statement.
“This is a big step forward in our campaign to ensure that patients can manage their period with dignity while in hospital. There is more work to be done, but we thank NSW Health for paving the way.”
She called for other states and territories, and the Federal Government, to step up as well.
This update comes after NSW announced all public schools would provide free period products back in March. The products will be available through a $30 million program by the state government.
It feels pretty wild that we’re only getting access to free period products in 2022 but it’s an exciting step forward. Now let’s make them free everywhere, thanks!