Healthwatch: people’s experiences of continence care

Nov 14, 2019

Healthwatch release their latest report where they explore the responses from thousands of people who have shared their experiences of health and social care. This report looked at the key issues people are raising about GPs, hospitals and other care services. The report also includes an ‘in focus’ section which looked specifically at experiences of continence care.


Overall Healthwatch received negative views on continence care in both faecal and urinary incontinence. Most people are not receiving help that meets their needs of they are simply unaware of the support available to them.

A key area highlighted was the problem that patients face when trying to access continence products and services. These problems included:

  • not being able to find information on how to access continence support
  • Long and complicated processes for getting continence products or care reviews
  • Being unable to arrange automatic or repeat orders of continence pads, a particular issues in patients with memory problems.
  • waiting up to two weeks for products to be received
  • having to pay for continence pads themselves while they wait for products or because services don’t provide them. It has been reported that some patients are spending over £100 a month on supplies.

They also looked into reports that the continence pads received were not meeting patient needs or were poor quality.

Mental health of patients is an area that is a priority for many at the moment. Mental health can be affected by bowel conditions. People who use continence service can feel depressed of defeated when they are unable to continue their normal routines.

Personal story: “I would describe his mental state as despair/depression/resignation and seems to be totally unaware of any help or support or options open to him… [He has] incontinence issues which means he is almost always wet and completely distressed about it and feels unable to maintain social contact and this is obviously also affecting his wife.”


Read the full report here