The Urology Trade Association (UTA) is the leading urology industry membership organisation in the UK, representing 95% of urology product manufacturers and suppliers to the urology appliance market.
The UTA welcomes the opportunity to respond to Labour’s consultation on Health and Care and its pledge to ensure that communities are given a real say in shaping the future of their local services where the majority of continence care are delivered.
The UTA’s response
As the draft manifesto policy points out, chronic illness now account for 70% of NHS spending and people want and expect to be active partners in shaping the decisions about their healthcare. An estimated six million people in the UK are affected by chronic illnesses such as dementia, diabetes, depression (as pointed out in the consultation document), spinal injury, multiple sclerosis, dementia and diabetes which all lead to continence problems. High quality urology appliances allow users to manage their conditions, maintaining their quality of life and independence and avoiding repeated medical consultations – an area central to the Labour Party’s whole-person care policy under the Health and Care consultation. While differences in products may seem minor, they can be very significant to those who use them, who often have very particular needs.
The consultation places emphasis on the need for service reconfiguration, and on changes to the way health services are provided to ensure that they are evidence-based and clinically led, rather than only focused on finances. While the UTA welcome the party’s pledge to ensure that patients have a formal role in drawing up and deciding on proposals for service change before they get to consultation stage, we would urge the Labour Policy team to give full consideration to choice of products, as well as the choice of service. Patients having access to appropriate products which meet their individual needs is vitally important if they are to independently manage their continence needs. Ensuring that patients are able to access the right products for their needs can also help save the NHS money through reduced wastage, reduced infections (particularly UTIs), and reduced reliance on health and social care.
In order to ensure that services are in place for older people to remain healthy and independent in their homes as pledged in the consultation document, any future government must give consideration to the support that can help people to live more independent and more satisfying lives. Continence is a significant aspect of this, which can have a major impact on quality of life. Ensuring that people are able to continue to manage their own continence needs means a reduced reliance on care and support.
The UTA also recognises the important issues and recommendations raised in both the Francis Inquiry and the review of Winterbourne View Hospital, particularly the need for people to be treated with dignity and respect. Properly managing continence needs, and providing for the individual needs of each patient are a vital part of ensuring patient dignity. The UTA has witnessed a worrying trend of urology patients being denied access to the products that are right for them. For example, some local areas have introduced formularies which effectively limit the range of products that prescribers can offer to patients with the aim of saving money
The UTA therefore welcomes the Labour Party’s position that the needs of individuals and patients are at the heart of local health and care services and the recognition of the need for patients to be treated with dignity.