Pad Up Public Health
When you’re in hospital, already sick, stressed, vulnerable, or recovering from childbirth, it’s not guaranteed that you will have access to sanitary items such as period products or maternity pads if you need them. In public hospitals across Australia, there is access to band-aids, bandages, painkillers, and incontinence aids, but not pads or tampons.
Here at Share the Dignity, we knew this was an issue, having heard stories from many women who had been menstruating while in hospital. Menstruation is not a choice, so they had no choice but to use incontinence pads, adult nappies or dressings to get by until they could purchase their own products, or their family came to visit. We needed to understand the extent of the issue.
We put a call out to our community asking for women and girls to share their experiences. The response was overwhelming. Thousands of you responded with your stories about access to period products while in hospital.
While it might be a hospital policy to stock period products, we found this wasn’t the experience of all women. Availability is limited and many rely on the kindness of nurses and midwives who give pads from their own supply. Some women had to wait hours for help, lying in their own blood. This is not okay.
How can you help to pad up public health?
Our latest crusade is gaining momentum. #PadUpPublicHealth calls for State and Federal Health Ministers to introduce free period products in all public hospitals. We’ve been gathering the information we need to engage key decision-makers, including Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. Here was his response to our advocacy letter.
We need your help to influence the decision-makers in your local area and implore them to make a change for good. Please download the template letters below to send to your local MP and/or state and territory Health Minister. Your voice can have a big impact on the lives of women and girls all over Australia.
Contact your MPs
- National – Hon Greg Hunt, Minister for Health and Aged Care
- Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – Rachel Stephen-Smith, Minister for Health
- New South Wales (NSW) – Hon Brad Hazzard, Minister for Health and Medical Research
- Northern Territory (NT) – Hon Natasha Fyles, Minister for Health
- Queensland (QLD) – Hon Yvette D’Ath, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
- South Australia (SA) – Hon Stephen Wade, Minister for Health and Wellbeing
- Tasmania (TAS) – Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing
- Victoria (VIC) – Hon Martin Foley, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
- Western Australia (WA) – Hon Roger Cook, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Medical Research