Sanitary towels and tampons against a colour background

NHS Supply Chain launches new sanitary products framework

With the launch of a new NHS Supply Chain framework next month, hospital trusts and their patients will soon benefit from a greater selection of sanitary products, including sustainable products.

The new framework for Maternity, Obstetrics and Gynaecological Products, which includes sanitary products, starts on February 1, 2021.

NHS Supply Chain engaged with a range of clinicians, specialist networks and patients during the development of the framework’s product specifications, which saw them build on feedback which emphasised a desire for the inclusion of ‘green’ sanitary products.

Trusts will also be able to supply tampons to patients as well as sanitary pads for the first time.

Theresa Bowles, from NHS Supply Chain: Rehabilitation, Disabled Services, Women’s Health and Associated Consumables, provided by Collaborative Procurement Partnership, explained: “A lot of information feeds into our listening process as we develop the framework and we take all this into consideration.”

The feedback received also highlighted a desire for individually-wrapped products, as well as the inclusion of tampons and pads in a range of absorbance and a choice of sustainable products.

In response, NHS Supply Chain’s procurement and clinical teams worked together with new and incumbent suppliers to find more sustainable and greener products, which will be available on the new framework.

The Clinical and Product Assurance (CaPA) team at NHS Supply Chain also highlighted NHS England guidance on period poverty and the need to provide sanitary products to inpatients when required. They also work to ensure that all NHS Supply Chain products are safe and reflect the needs and preferences of all NHS partners.

Since summer 2019, it has been standard practice for all women and girls being cared for by the NHS to be given, on request, appropriate sanitary products free of charge.

Fay Allen, NHS Supply Chain’s Product Assurance Specialist, said: “The launch of this framework highlights the exceptional work and collaboration that CaPA and Category Tower Service Providers undertake to ensure all stakeholders needs including patients and clinicians are accommodated where possible, and helps to build a greener NHS.”

The new framework will now offer:

  • Products in a range of absorbency and pack sizes.
  • A choice of tampons including with and without applicator (cardboard and plastic options) and plastic free products (e.g. organic cotton tampons with corn-starch wrapping)
  • A choice of pads including individually wrapped with plastic free options (e.g. organic cotton, no super absorbers, corn-starch film backing and wrapper)
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