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Comment: It’s time for nurses to make their voices heard

  • Comment
In 2005, the Department of Health published two consultation documents designed to reduce the cost of providing continence and stoma products. Areas under consideration included: home delivery services; remuneration (for sponsored posts); reclassifying products and renegotiating prices.

Stoma care nurses and their patient groups were well informed and made sure their voices were heard. Urology and continence nurses and patient groups were not so well informed and poorly represented in the discussions held in London during December 2006.

However, once a concerted effort had been made to raise awareness, an extension on the deadline was agreed. Two meetings were scheduled for 20 September 2007, one with representatives from commerce, which was well attended, the other with professionals working in adult and paediatric continence and patient group representatives to discuss the latest draft proposals regarding incontinence appliances and services in part IX of the Drug Tariff.

I had been nominated by ERIC (Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence) to attend and was surprised to find myself one of only seven attendees and the only one with a specialist interest in continence/urology. It is important that stakeholders comment on this revised set of proposals.

My understanding is that home delivery services are to remain, albeit adjusted, and reimbursement is assured for company/sponsored nurses. But problems may arise from incorrect classification of continence products, meaning some have been placed in a lower category for reimbursement. In addition, the proposed reduction in remuneration of up to 35% could lead to a more limited range of evidence-based products (small catheters and penile sheaths for children).

It may also mean the discontinuation of patient support materials, vital services including helplines, specialist nurse training and patient education. At present these are provided by manufacturers.
The consultation document can be found at www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_078135. Send responses to Gita Fox, Department of Health, 5th Floor, New King’s Beam House, London, SE1 9BW, or email them to Primaryandacute.part9@
dh.gsi.gov.uk. The deadline for responses is 29 November.

Mary White, MA, RGN, Dip Counselling Studies, SNCert, independent specialist continence adviser, Matlock, Derbyshire

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