Tampons and other sanitary products will be free for every hospital patient in England.
NHS England confirmed on Sunday that the products would be available to women and girls being cared for by the health service from this summer.
The move comes after the British Medical Association wrote to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens about the issue last month.
The doctors’ union had pointed out that many hospitals give away razors and shaving foam to male patients and that women should receive the same consideration regarding sanitary products.
They had estimated that it would cost roughly £120,000 a year to supply the products to inpatients.
Mr Stevens said that providing these essentials was “absolutely right” and would “prevent unnecessary embarrassment and leave people to focus on their recovery”.
The BMA said that 42% of hospital trusts either did not provide free sanitary products for patients or did this only in small amounts or for emergencies.
But Mr Stevens said providing the products in all England’s hospitals free of charge would become compulsory in the new standard contract with hospitals for 2019-20.
Dame Parveen Kumar, chairwoman of the BMA’s Board of Science, said the provision had been “patchy or non-existent” but that improving this would only require a “relatively small cost”.
Dame Parveen added: “As well being an important influence in the shift that is necessary towards ending period poverty, this will be a relief for many patients who will no longer face the embarrassment and stress of not being able to freely and easily access sanitary pads and tampons.”
(c) Sky News 2019: Hospital patients to get free sanitary products