HC Deb 08 March 1990 vol 168 cc819-20W
Mr. Hannam

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he plans to take steps to improve the delivery of incontinence advice and supplies across the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what advice he has issued to health authorities on the need to provide a continence service; and how this will be affected by National Health Service and Community Care Bill;

(3) what information he has for each district health authority on (a) any restrictions that apply to the supply of incontinence pads to people living in (i) their own homes and (ii) residential homes (b) how much each district health authority spent on incontinence pads for the previous three years and how much for 1988 and 1989, (c) whether the district health authority has a written policy on continence drawn up in co-operation with the social services department and (d) how many continence advisers are employed by each district health authority;

(4) what training is required for prospective continence advisers.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

The advice given to health authorities on the provision of services to people suffering from incontinence was given in health notice (88) 26, a copy of which is in the Library. This advised health authorities to agree strategies with social services departments and to appoint continence advisers. This advice is unaffected by the National Health Service and Community Care Bill. Detailed information on local service provision is not held centrally.

Both health authorities and local authorities have discretionary powers to provide incontinence supplies and aids. The extent to which they exercise that discretion varies in the light of local needs and circumstances. There is no formal training requirement for continence advisers. the majority of them are registered general nurses. There is an English National Board training course (No. 978 "An introduction to the promotion of continence and management of incontinence") which a large proportion of continence advisers have taken either before or after taking up appointment.