Action vow over continence pads

Wiltshire Council has pledged to improve the supply of continence pads after a “shocking” report that showed people were not given a choice of pads and most were limited to four per day.

An investigation by a task group set up by Wiltshire Council’s Health Select Committee found the number of products, quality and range provided do not meet the needs of everyone and its report calls on the service to be re-evaluated.

The report was endorsed by the council’s Health Select Committee at a meeting in Trowbridge on Tuesday. Chairman and task group member Councillor Christine Crisp said the findings in the report were “shocking”.

The supply of continence pads was changed in January 2012 when Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire issued a new contract with Medequip, replacing numerous suppliers. About 4,000 people in Wiltshire use the service.

The investigation came from concerns raised about the service by Wiltshire Carers’ Action Group.

The task group’s report says: “It was stated that four products per 24 hours were insufficient for many people. The absorbency was so poor that some people were reluctant to go out. Other people reduced their fluid intake to try to cope.

“The quality of the products was such that St Nicholas School (Chippen-ham, where almost half of pupils use continence products) implemented toileting clinics, which aim to ‘time train’ some pupils to manage the products.”

The task group said some of the products were not elasticated around the leg and were prone to leaking.

Coun Jeff Osborn, who chaired the task group, said: “The transfer of the service to Medequip was not handled very well. People feel they are given a rudimentary service and they are expected to suffer in silence.”

Wiltshire councillor Keith Humphries, Cabinet member for adult social care, said: “I find the report disturbing. It’s an issue we are taking very seriously.”

Dr Steve Rowlands, chairman of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The report is shocking and we must work with the council to improve that.”

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