Incontinence is Hurting the Dignity and Health of Millions

At the end of August, 10 charities published the findings of a shared workshop they had on the topic of incontinence which had taken place in December 2016.  The resulting report which is called “My bladder and bowel own my life.” A collaborative workshop addressing the need for continence research” recommends tackling the stigma of incontinence and funding research into this often ignored issue. This new report describes the impact of continence issues on patients with long-term conditions and older people as discussed by the workshop participants and makes 8 clear recommendations for researchers, research funders,  policy makers, commissioners and others in a position to make research into urinary and faecal continence problems more of a priority.

Research into urinary and faecal continence problems have been identified by patients, carers, family members and health and social care professionals as one of the key areas where further research is needed.  This is because there are are a lot of areas in this field where further research could be done to improve the quality of life for people with a variety of conditions and circumstances, such as long-term neurological conditions and terminal illness. The 10 charities suggest that more research is needed into:

  • the patient experience
  • health economics
  • clinical research into self-management techniques, co-morbidities, continence assessment and products, the impact of education, combined urinary and bowel continence research, side-effects and the interaction of medication prescribed for other long-term health conditions and their effect on incontinence symptoms.
  • fundamental research to better understand bladder and bowel function
  • the effect of non-surgical interventions.

Quite a knowledge gap, that needs to be tackled particularly since the NHS estimates that between 3 and 6 million people in the UK have some degree of urinary incontinence. Studies also suggest that in the UK “major faecal incontinence” affects 1.4% of the general population over 40 years old and that constipation affects between 3% and 15% of the population. It’s also widely believed that continence problems are under-reported so these figures could be quite a bit off as the numbers seeking treatment might be as low as 20% of those affected, which would mean around 15 million around a 1/5th of the UK population at any one time may be troubled by poor continence symptoms.

If you are affected by incontinence it is probably a good idea to be aware of NICE’s Topic Page on Urinary Incontinence and their Urinary incontinence in women interactive flowchart and to take some time to look at The Urology Foundation’s Urology Health Pages



Scotland’s Carer’s Allowance Supplement

This a bit of a departure from my usual Blog topics nonetheless I think its important that as may carers as possible in Scotland know about this change to benefits that starts next week.

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, Shirley-Anne Somerville release the following statement this week about Scotland’s new carers allowance supplement which starts from Thursday 13th September 2018.

Eligible carers in Scotland will receive the first payments of the new Carer’s Allowance Supplement in recognition of the important contribution that they make to our society. These payments will mean that people in Scotland, who were in receipt of Carer’s Allowance from the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) on the qualifying date of Monday 16 April will receive a supplementary payment of £221. This payment will be issued automatically to all eligible carers. Just for once there is no need for a form to be completed.  As this is the first payments Social Security Scotland will make the Scottish Government want to make sure these payments are paid safely and securely to people. For that reason payments will nit be immediate but will come over a phased period.  The vast majority of payments  will be made by the end of September, with more complex cases being completed by Thursday 15 October. If you are already receiving Carers Allowance, payment will be made using the same method that you were using to get their Carer’s Allowance from the DWP.

In advance of payments being issued, carers will receive a letter explaining the payment to them and a leaflet to introduce Social Security Scotland as the new Scottish Government agency that will deliver these payments. We expect people to start receiving their letters from the week beginning 10 September. The letter will also contain details of where people will be able to find information online and a Freephone telephone number should they wish to speak with someone about this payment. The Scottish Government are keen to help carers understand the process and have shared the following links to three clips of film introducing Social Security Scotland, the policy intent behind Carer’s Allowance Supplement and details on the way in which this benefit will be delivered:

Introduction to Social Security Scotland

For more about Carer’s Allowance Supplement, look at the fact sheet given here.  

For more about why income maximisation is important to all carers, not just those in Scotland I thought this page from Slough Carers support explained this well.

The Impact of Deprivation on Health in Scotland

Here I am highlighting health inequalities again. On Friday 24th. Public Health Information for Scotland (ScotPHO) released their latest report showing the scale of the problem. They found that people living in the poorest areas in Scotland have double the rate of illness and early death than people in our wealthiest areas. Nearly a third (32.9%) of early deaths and ill health in Scotland could be avoided if the whole population had the same life circumstances as the people who live in the wealthiest areas. The report comes from an ongoing project at ScotPHO called National Burden of Disease, Injuries and Risk Factors Study in Scotland and was initially a two year ScotPHO project funded by the Scottish Chief Scientist Office, which has now become an ongoing research study. You can download this new report  The Scottish Burden of Disease Study, 2016 Deprivation report HERE They also have a neat page on the NHS Health Scotland Page which shows the leading causes of ill-health and early death at Impact of deprivation on health

I also found this!

A neat 7 minutes on Power as a fundamental cause of Health Inequality

Older People’s Events During Edinburgh Festival Time!


In Scotland, the world’s biggest arts festival starts today. As always I’ll spend some time through there over the month and try and take in some shows/events etc. with my family.

So what might be worth seeing that focuses on Older People? Well, these aren’t my recommendations this list comes from Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing organisation, which runs a diverse programme of creative events and activities throughout the year. So they know better than me what to see. So here is their list of recommendations.

What to See in Edinburgh 2018

I’m intrigued by one in particular… Who Do You Want to Wipe Your Bum?

Which features Dr Anna Schneider of Edinburgh Napier University highlighting a few things worth thinking about; considering you’ve got an 80% chance of needing care at the end of your life.

I suspect she will have to say something about this Global Health Workforce Labor Market Projections for 2030

Slipped Under the Radar: More Evidence of Workplace Ageism (and a Video!)

So, who noticed in amongst all the fuss over a President having a game of golf at a hotel he owns in Scotland and a UK Prime Minister trying to pretend that she is not being stabbed in the back, that a new report was released from the UK Government’s “Women and Equalities Committee”.

Their new report published this week, called “Older People and Employment” found that the situation across the UK as “unacceptable”. Currently, more than one million people over 50 are unemployed and the Committee said that the Government needed to be clearer that prejudice, casual ageism and even unconscious bias against older people continue to be unlawful under the Equality Act 2010. They went on to criticise the continued lack of enforcement of laws to prevent ageism at work. Delia Henry, Age Scotland’s Director said in the Herald and repeated on Radio Scotland that…

 “…this report is eye opening but sadly its conclusions are unsurprising. The overwhelming majority of businesses and employers in Scotland do not have an age strategy and as such will struggle to get the best out of the workforce. Older workers add tremendous value to the workplace but are too often faced with unfair bias and less opportunity as they get older. This must change.”

Well, I am not one to disagree with that.

Now a total change of topic. If you have never heard of Professor Richard Wiseman then this is a brief introduction. He is the Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom and is one of my heroes because he wrote the only self-help book for everyone that might be worth reading. It’s called “59 Seconds: Think a Little Change a Lot”

So this is his latest venture. He recently teamed up with the folks at Business Insider to make this short video containing science-based tips on how to be more productive and a better leader. Three minutes of simple genius!

More New Guidance from NICE and the Importance of Healthcare Quality.


Last month it was NG 97: Dementia, this month an equally important one NICE Guideline 100: Rheumatoid arthritis in adults: management

As with Dementia, the flowchart has also been updated making it easy to follow.

At the same time, they have also updated the Rheumatoid Arthritis Quality Standard (now Q33) which has 7 recommendations that it would be worth becoming aware of. Rheumatoid Arthritis affects over 400,000 people in the UK making it one of the most prevalent long-term conditions health professionals see. If you need to know more about rheumatoid arthritis its worth looking at the NHS Direct entry which you can see by Clicking Here

In the wake of the celebrations to mark #NHS70 and in the light of recent negative publicity about the health of the NHS, it’s probably a good time to mention this.  A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank has claimed low-quality healthcare services are holding back progress on improving health in countries at all income levels. (i.e. the NHS is not alone in the problems its facing).

te report highlights that 1 in 10 patients is adversely affected during treatment in high-income countries. Adherence to clinical practice guidelines in eight low- and middle-income countries was below 50 per cent in several instances. Also, 10% of hospitalised patients in low- and middle-income can expect to acquire an infection during their stay, as compared to 7% in high-income countries. The report outlines the steps health services, health workers, governments, citizens and patients needed to take to improve healthcare quality. It would be a shame to let this important report slip under the radar because of #TrumpVisitUK and the Brexit mess. See:

OECD/WHO/World Bank Group (2018). Delivering Quality Health Services: A Global Imperative. World Health Organization. Geneva, Switzerland.


Hello from Manchester’s @BSGManchester2018 #BSG2018


conference_FlyerSo this week I am at the British Society of Gerontology (BSG) Conference 2018. I don’t think that I have ever been to a larger Conference and there is so much in the Conference Programme that it is almost big enough to require a wheelbarrow!

Anyway, later today I am speaking with Becky Moran the Care Home Educational Facilitator (CHEF) from NHS Lanarkshire talking about the BSG study day we held back in August 2017. See This Link for our report to Ageing Issues

At the conference the following has been announced that other people might be interested in.

Firstly, the Centre for Better Ageing at is releasing a new report today called Home Adaptations: A Typical Journey, which explores personal and professional perspectives on home adaptations. Go to the website and download it.

Secondly, Ageing and Society have released some full-text versions of some of its most interesting articles online. There are a range of topics so if you want to take a look at what is available see

Finally, the Centre for Policy on Ageing has pooled together some of its Information Resources. An interesting one to look at is called “Policies on Ageing” which is an online resource providing easy access to government policy documents and key national reports and briefings that are raising the profile of issues around the support of older people and an ageing population. See:

Hope you find something interesting.