Bladder and Bowel Confidence HIT 2022-23

Co-directors Nikki Cotterill, Marcus Drake, Paul Abrams, Jonathan Randall and Kathryn McCarthy look back at the HIT's achievements in the last year.

  • 1st April 2023

Addressing inequalities in service access

An investigation of Bladder and Bowel Service (BBS) provision has shown that women from some ethnic minority communities find it hard to access support for continence issues. A BABCON-led project, funded by NHS Charities Together in 2021, in partnership with Sirona Health Links and the Bladder and Bowel Service, worked with Somali women in Bristol to understand the barriers they face in finding help for continence issues.

As a result, a new clinic for women who suffer from bladder and bowel conditions is now open in East Bristol. The clinic, run by community provider Sirona, is safe, easily accessible, staffed only by females, and has interpreters available. Other outputs include an animation and leaflets in Somali and English, and a cultural awareness training package for health care staff.

Providing information and advice

This year the CONfidence app, developed with Expert Self Care and launched in 2021, gained NHSX accreditation, was longlisted for a BMA Patient Information Award and was featured in the Nursing Times. Outreach work is continuing to ensure more organisations know about the app and can recommend it to people who will benefit from it.

Compiling evidence for changes to continence culture, care and services

Our survey of healthcare practitioners on remote continence care during COVID-19 was published in the Health Services Research Journal. [LINK] The HIT also collaborated on reports with Healthwatch and the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN), which Nikki Cotterill presented at an All Party Parliamentary Group at the House of Commons in 2022.

Focusing on pathway redesign

The continence pathway is disjointed both within and between community, primary and secondary care. Patients often present with urological and colorectal problems, which are managed separately, reducing efficiency and can result in protracted patient journeys. Integration between systems is also fragmented, which leads to barriers in accessing appropriate healthcare and inefficiencies in care provision across the system.

The HIT has therefore identified pathway redesign as its priority activity: to integrate progress made to date and provide a robust structure for continence care provision, which will be an example of good practice nationally.

Funding enabled in 2022-23

BABCON HIT helped secure £557,984 in 2022-23 for research, improving outcomes and addressing health inequalities.