MP issues call for action

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Local MP David Simpson has called for improvements in paediatric continence services to help ensure that the one in 10 children who experience problems with their bladder or bowel have access to effective services.

Mr. Simpson recently attended a parliamentary event hosted by the Paediatric Continence Forum (PCF), where the poor state of continence services nationwide was discussed.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) survey performed by the Paediatric Continence Forum revealed that Health Boards and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) across the UK are failing to provide proper integrated paediatric continence services for the 1 in 10 children and young people with continence problems.

Only 40% of responding Health Boards/CCGs commission all the four main continence services (covering bedwetting, daytime wetting, toilet training and constipation/soiling) – with just over 27% of responding bodies commissioning services that are fully “joined-up”.

To help address this issue, the PCF provides a comprehensive guide, called the Paediatric Continence Commissioning Guide, which includes clear advice for commissioners and healthcare professionals on how to commission integrated, community- based paediatric continence services. This guide has been accredited by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellent (NICE).

Mr Simpson said “Paediatric continence is an important issue which directly impacts on the lives of many children and their families in Upper Bann. I was concerned to hear that the Southern Trust does not commission continence services in the best possible manner to address the full range of problems experienced by these children.

“I hope that they will be taking steps to address this in the near future and I have written to our Health Minister to ask that she addresses this issue. I welcome the efforts of the Paediatric Continence Forum to improve the quality of services in Upper Bann and nationwide.”

Dr Penny Dobson MBE, Chair of the PCF and one of the report’s authors, commented: “The provision of community paediatric continence services is becoming increasingly fragmented, particularly since the obligation for school nurses to advise on paediatric continence issues was removed in 2015.

“The current state of services does not reflect the substantial difficulties faced by children with continence issues, who can experience bullying.”