Question: Are you concerned that incontinence pads are being rationed by some NHS Scotland Health Boards?

Your feedback: Yes 97% (72 respondents) No 3% (2 respondents)

Your comments:

Are concerned that incontinence pads are being rationed by some NHS Scotland Health Boards

“Have any of the people who make these decisions ever been in the position of having to use these pads – highly unlikely. Terrible decision.”

“Don’t we suffer enough indignities already.”

“As a former carer i have seen what people go through if their pads are left on longer. I have seen how difficult it is to heal damaged and degraded skin, seen how upset it made my clients. Now that I have similar issues, due to protruding discs, this does concern me as following the NHS guidelines, I don’t meet the necessary threshold and need to purchase continence products myself.”

“I have found these new pads don’t hold the urine so well and the pads brake or disintegrate while wearing”

“The assessment procedure takes no note of people with severe, but temporary need. I have spina bifida and my need is not permanent. There’s also an issues over supplies via Continence Care in Liyhians. Scripts used to have a week’s turnaround. That’s becoming 3 weeks at norm.”

“Yes. There is a fundamental lack of understanding from health care workers about the implications of bulky old fashioned pads for use for day wear. There are numerous more discrete products not available on the NHS that should be. We are not in the dark ages but the NHS is when rationing incontinence products. Bulky products lead to low self esteem, lack of confidence about going out. This in turn leads to social isolation for the more able bodied. In hospital incontinence pants are available for overnight use, but are severely rationed and if the bed becomes wet patients are further demoralised by staffs attitudes when having to change beds overnight. Wearing pads for longer only results in skin breakdown and further costs to the NHS and more isolation, embarrassment and lack of dignityfor patients. We can fly people to the moon but still give patients low cost bulky antisocial incontinence pads.”

“I work in Adult Social Care so have seen first hand the issues the rationing of pads causes, skin breakdown being the most common, but have also known people to dry their pads on a radiator so they can reuse them, this is unacceptable.”

“A friends son uses pads and had issues getting extra supply when her son had the Norovirus and had to be changed frequently to keep his skin from breaking down”

“It’s bad enough to find yourself in a position where you have to rely on pads, but if you also have to function in areas such as essential shopping or employment of any nature then using public transport, taxis or even your own vehicle then faced with the daunting prospect of mixing with the public. I would like the people who make these decisions to tell us if they would be happy wearing soiled underwear for a few hours and mixing with people. No one should be compelled through cuts or budget restraints to suffer such indignities.”

“This is very concerning and is an open invite for serious infections, and this is at a time when “hospital” infections such as MRSA are in the ascendancy. The decision is a clear case of putting finances before patients health. It make a mockery of the whole concept of “preventive medicine” and puts us back into the arena of reactive medicine which has already proven to be more costly in the long run, therefore this decision is for a short term gain only and will cost more in the long term.”

“This is shocking. We now have “incontinence poverty”. These pads are expensive to buy and some older people are making the choice between food and pads. This is a false economy. I understand there has been some wastage due to over provision but maybe pads that are still in packets can be put back into the system. This takes away dignity, has a huge financial impact and results in other health conditions which may ultimately result in a hospital admission. There has to be another way to save money.”

“This is a horrific injustice. There are laws against people being made to live in unfit housing, due to its effects on a person’s health. There are countless laws against unfit treatment of anyone so the very idea that our government is actually behind such cuts and encouraging unsanitary treatment is cause for major concern. “

“The person for whom I provide care has had incontinence pads rationed having been told they are not eligible for any pads and have to purchase their own. The assessment procedure does need to change. It is a cruel way to treat vulnerable people with long term medical conditions. Two 3 day trials of pads were provided. They did not offer a sufficient level of overnight protection resulting in a sodden bed. The person for whom I provide care is my husband and we share a bed. This situation is difficult for both of us. The lack of dignity, wellbeing and respect. Where is the ‘person centred approach’ to care? This is a cause of stress to carers.”

” I work in care and one gent I care for receives 2 different types of pad. One is slightly more absorbent than the other. This gent gets less of the more absorbent kind meaning that quite often at night, he is wearing the less absorbent kind and is soaking wet in the morning. I think that there needs to be a way of producing pads more cost effectively so that no one should need to worry when their next lot of pads are due or whether they should buy extra out of their pocket.”

“I do have concerns about this, due to dignity and comfort but also as I work alongside wheelchair users who can struggle to maintain skin integrity and are at risk of pressure sores. Sitting in urine or feaces is likely to worsen any existing sores, increase likelihood of new sores and eventually end up costing the NHS more budget as once pressure sores occur they can take a significant amount of time to heal, and the person is at an increased risk of future skin damage. Alongside this, many of the young wheelchair users I work alongside attend colleges and are seeking work, it is not in any way fair that they should have to feel self conscious about wearing a wet or soiled pad when in classes or attending job interviews.”

“While it is true that incontinence pans can hold more there are other issues that need to be considered. 1 The pads have a limit once this is reached then the only outcome is the person being soaked with Urine as result the person can be embarrassed if the are out and about it is a loss of dignity. 2 Any seat they are using can also be become wet and can mean they face having to pay a charge to have the seat cleaned if it is a Taxi or other public vehicle. 3. After a period of time the pad is also likely to smell again this is something that can mean you lose your dignity and self respect. 4 The weight of the Urine in the pad can also result in it making it more difficult to walk as it can mean that trousers sag 5 If the pad has reached is limit there is know way of knowing so while the points above are an issue there is also the issue of additional laundry ie clothing or bedding more work for them or care provider. My local NHS ( Lanarkshire) already have a date they expect the pads to last that does not allow for periods where you might need more pads due to infection etc. You Also have to order them your self on line or via a non local phone number so that it costs people to order them.”

“I have been waiting since Dec.2018 for an assessment of need. Meantime I have to find the money to purchase the pads I require. I feel I am being punished for have MS and a continence problem.”

“NHS will let me have incontinence pada but they are no use to me. I need incontinence pants not pads. Have just spent over £100 buying them. Cannot dispose of them because local council collects landfill bins only once every 3 weeks and they are not suitable for re-cycling. This is causing a serious risk of infection.”

” have several accidents a week and I don’t qualify. I spend about £25 a month on products. I can’t imagine it getting worse for people worse off than me. “

“Wearing a soiled incontinence pad can also lead to infection e.g. a urinary tract infection, caused by bacteria from faeces coming into contact with the urinary tract. UTIs cost the NHS money in antibiotics. So I imagine that providing sufficient incontinence pads is a preventative spend – incontinence pads cost less than antibiotics.”

“It would seem sensible for regular assessment of needs is undertaken to ensure those who need pads get them and those who don’t, don’t. There should however be consistency across all Health Board areas given we have a ‘national’ health service”

“People who have indwelling catheters can leak or bypass therefore pad usage can be varied from day to day, this should be taken into account when assessing patients requirements. Those who use pads due to low control of their bladder will most certainly have days where they use more pads than others. I realise that patients need to take some responsibility and only change pads when they need to do so however they surely should be given enough to be able to do this Not drinking enough can cause infections which causes pain and discomfort and requires antibiotics to treat.”

“Incontinence is a very distressing condition and no one should be expected to wear wet or, even worse, soiled pads for a moment longer than necessary. The people who think this acceptable should try using pads instead of going to the toilet for a week. They wouldn’t want to do it again.”

“I am aware of this rationing in several people and it is a total disgrace, disrespectful of the elderly and disabled people using these essential items! Regarding assessments, like so many other assessment based eligibility systems in the NHS, they are flawed and ultimately weighted in favour of “the system” to reduce eligibility and therefore cost”

“Yes, l have to buy at least 3 extra packs off Ebay. Always looking for cheapest but usually spend around an extra £30 a month. Never heard about ?time allocated per pad, but. get checked every so often to see if skin broken. Know l know why they do this, as it was never checked before. You had to get them in when you got pressure sore.”

“I cannot believe that anyone suggest keeping on a soiled pad ! Have they no common sense ?”

“I think that people need to fight the loss of dignity. Through Equality Act discrimination, the NHS are supposed to be looking after the health not holding people to ransom through no fault of their own.”

“It is particularly important to have a plentiful supply if you are in full time employment. There’s a perception that the two are incompatible. However with proper management that’s untrue. There would be no loss of dignity of having to leave early. It has become the case where I buy all my own and stopped using the NHS for delivery since the removal of delivery from the district nurse service to DPD couriers due to reliability issues.”

“Yes to rationing of pads. This is an utter disgrace and an insult to the needs to elderly and disabled. Prevention being better than cure went out the window many years ago, this is more like job creation because the end result will be increased urinary infections, increased skin problems, increased hospitalisation. The NHS have their hands tied and are only doing what they have to do given the money they have, trying to make the best they can of a very bad job.”

“I have had great trouble in accessing incontinence pads that i found they did not do the job they were designed to do. in the end i now buy incontinence pants which are far better than the pads. however it cost £58 per month as these are not free using NHS pads i felt unsafe going out in case it leaked so it was pay this and get on your life or keep using NHS pads and be confined to the house and have no social life”

“I use incontinence pads and used to purchase them myself. They are quite costly. However, I now get my pharmacy supplied by Bullen Healthcare via Spinal Injuries Scotland and not only do the deal with my doctor and all my repeat prescriptions (delivered to my door) but they also give me free pads, dry wipes and wet wipes. Fantastic service and takes away all these worries and stressors. After instances of urinary leakage the last thing I would want would be to keep a pad in place. Your immediate reaction being to get cleaned and change pads. This is a dignity issue. I don’t think the NHS should even be considering rationing people’s incontinence pads as people will still need them and have to purchase them at personal costs. If we can deal with period poverty surely we can treat this issue with respect and dignity. Also the NHS have better buying power to get the pads cheaper than individuals paying them at pharmacies etc.”

Are not concerned that incontinence pads are being rationed by some NHS Scotland Health Boards

“Yes I receive 5 per 24 hrs and buy extras myself. No I believe in my area the eligibility process is satisfactory”

“Personally, I have never had an issue with a service I can only describe as excellent!”

“At the moment I’m on the lowest quantity. I have had to purchase extra. Then on the other hand sometimes I have excess left and can fall. Back on them, so for me it swings in roundabouts. But I do beleive there are a lot of more deserving souls out there whom I believe should be able to phone on a weekly, /monthly basis and order what they have used in the prior delivery”