Paper bras idea to give women dignity in the operating theatre
TWO Welsh nurses are saving women the embarrassment of going into the operating threatre topless - by making paper bras for them to wear in theatre.
Theatre nurses Natalie Reid, 39, and Fiona Cartwright, 48, discovered many women dread surgery because they feel so exposed.
So the pair came up with a blue paper bra to cover their patient's modesty in theatre - and it's a big hit.
Natalie and Fiona, from Porthcawl, are hoping the NHS will start offering their "Digni Bra" to women patients who want to cover their breasts.
Natalie said: "It's not about vanity, it is about dignity.
"Obviously all the medics are professionals who've seen it all.
"But we would still want to be covered up if we were going in for surgery."
Until now, women have been given just a pair of paper pants before going for operations - but with nothing to cover their breasts.
But Natalie and Fiona designed a matching bra and pants made out of blue paper to be trialled for patients.
The bra and pants are used once to cover a patient's modesty before being safely disposed.
Natalie said: "We have been working with female patients for a long time and we just thought: "Why aren't women given bras?
"We did some research and they just don’t exist.
"We thought that it was a great idea to develop - particularly with dignity being so high on the agenda in healthcare at the moment.
The royal blue bra protects patients’ modesty while allowing for essential heart monitoring and can be easily removed for cardiac massage.
The paper garments have been on trial at a private hospital in Cardiff and have been welcomed by both patients and the medical profession.
Fiona said: "When we did the survey we found that 95 per cent of the women we asked did not know that they may become exposed when being prepared for surgery.
"We have met with some of the health boards and they seemed very positive about the idea, but it’s difficult at a time when the NHS is cutting back.
"But it’s part of their code of conduct to protect patients’ dignity, so we are hopeful."
A survey of 100 female patients at the hospital found all but one would prefer to have had a bra provided.
The bra is being trialled at the Vale Healthcare Hospital in Cardiff which specialises in cosmetic surgery including weight-loss procedures.
Alison Moir, clinic manager at the the hospital said: "A patient’s dignity is at the forefront of our staff’s behaviour and attitudes at all times."