An independent study conducted by the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow in 2019 asked patients across the UK for their thoughts on the issue of hospital gowns.

Consultant clinical psychologist for the NHS, Nicola Cogan, led the research and said the findings showed Ms Gail’s experience was not an isolated case.

She said: “We spoke to a 1,000 patients and found over two thirds reported they struggled to get a gown on themselves and 70% reported the gown did not fit.

“We also found 41% reported the experience of ‘double-gowning’ where patients are asked to wear a gown at the front and then fasten at the back, to try and protect their dignity…We’re seeing this right across the UK.

“It’s not cost effective for the NHS, but also it shows that the gown is currently not fit for purpose.”

The way hospital gowns look and how they fit has been examined in previous years. In 2010 the fashion designer Ben de Lisi worked with the Design Council to develop a better design, with side fastenings, while some trusts such as Derby Hospitals introduced a range for more dignity and comfort after feedback from patients.

Healthwatch England champions users of the NHS and is an independent sub-committee of the Health Care Quality Commission that encourages patients to highlight issues that can be fed back to the NHS. The Bristol branch of the organisation confirmed it had been contacted by Barbara Gail about her experience and was reviewing her comments in more detail.

A spokesperson said: “We need to understand the issue [from the hospital concerned].

“It may be due to problems with purchasing all the sizes they offer [that bigger gowns were unavailable], as we have found out they provide a ‘one size’, and a ‘bariatric’ size gown.”