On the 22nd April, the Urology Trade Association and the Urology Foundation held their 2024 annual parliamentary reception to brief parliamentarians and raise awareness on the importance of prioritising continence care, in light of a current government consultation proposing changes to the way medical products are prescribed.

At the event, parliamentarians came together to sign a pledge to support person-centred care which prioritises patient outcomes and allows patients to choose from a wide range of products and services. 

The event heard from Navendu Mishra MP, who explained the immense challenges a constituent had faced in accessing continence services, highlighting that the wait for an assessment by NHS continence services in Stockport stands at 31 weeks.

Guests also heard from a patient representative who outlined his experience with incontinence and the fact that each patient requires a different product to suit their need.

Given the stigma surrounding these issues, incontinence can often go undiagnosed, with many patients reluctant to raise symptoms with healthcare professionals, or even to family and friends.

Given the prevalence of these conditions, many people are reliant on good-quality continence care and depend on continence products on a regular basis. With demand for urological products expected to continue to rise in the next decade, the provision of high-quality and personalised continence care across the UK has never been more important.

The government has recently consulted on major changes to the Drug Tariff (the list of all products available on prescription) as it affects medical devices, and the outcome may restrict the range of urology products available to clinicians and through them to patients, in a way that could adversely affect patient outcomes.

For this reason, MPs are calling on the government to ensure that continence care is prioritised, and that any changes to the way medical products are prescribed do not deny patients access to the clinically most appropriate product for them or restrict clinicians’ freedom to prescribe the full range of products available. 

Chris Whitehouse, chair, The Urology Trade Association said: “The patient should be at the heart of all decisions taken about their treatment, but for too long that hasn’t happened in the continence sector.

“We’re grateful to all the MPs and Peers who have this evening pledged their support to deliver a paradigm shift for those living with the huge challenges of incontinence. It’s long overdue.”