Parliamentary Activity

The PCF engages with parliamentarians and policy makers to ensure that the paediatric continence as an issue remains on the agenda – and services in this area of child health fulfil the standards of the PCF’s 2019 Children’s Commissioning Guide. Our activities range from one-to-one meetings with policy officials in the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Education, and other departments as necessary and appropriate, as well as parliamentarians and stakeholders from the media to think tanks. We host events to raise the profile of the work we do and the research and guidance we publish, and use parliamentary supporters to keep paediatric continence on the agenda in the Palace of Westminster.

PCF’s Parliamentary Engagement

The PCF meets with parliamentarians on a regular basis to discuss continence issues and concerns and to represent the thousands of young people in the UK with these problems. The PCF attends parliamentary events such as “It Happens to Me Too” (see below) and contributes to meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group. This gives us the chance to discuss the important continence issues which are close to the heart of thousands of young people across the UK.

Written parliamentary questions following a briefing from the PCF

Bridget Phillipson (Lab, Houghton and Sunderland South): “To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of paediatric continence services for children throughout (a) England, (b) the North East and (c) Sunderland.” (asked 25th Feb 2020)

Helen Whately (Heath Minister): Continence services are commissioned locally by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). Later this year the National Bladder and Bowel Project Group will undertake an audit of CCGs across all regions in England to assess the commissioning of continence services.Sunderland CCG is working with providers to improve the pathway in the local area, where continence services are currently provided by:

– South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust (commissioned by Sunderland CCG), which provides a bladder and bowel service for both adults and children. This includes the provision of products using a locally agreed policy; and

– Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust (commissioned by Sunderland City Council), which provides the 0-19 service and support services including level 1 continence support for nocturnal enuresis, constipation and toilet training and initiating first line treatments.

Thangam Debbonaire (Lab, Bristol West): “what assessment the Department for Health and Social Care has made of the availability of Level 1 paediatric continence services for (a) school nurses, (b) health visitors and (c) GPs to provide preventative early treatment for (i) bladder and (ii) bowel problems in children.” (asked 1st May 2019)

Steve Brine (Health Minister): Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for commissioning continence services and work with local partners to ensure the appropriate level of services are provided dependent upon local need.

CCGs may choose to commission the health visiting and school nursing service to deliver continence services. Public Health England (PHE) has developed commissioning guidance to support local public health delivery; the guidance also clarifies the commissioning responsibilities for continence services. Further information is available here:

Continence services are not included in the public health grant and PHE has not undertaken a national assessment of continence services. (answered 10 May 2018)

Thangam Debbonaire (Lab, Bristol West): “what steps the Department of Health and Social Care is taking to monitor the implementation of NHS England’s Excellence in Continence Care guidelines.” (asked 1st May)

Steve Brine (Health Minister): NHS England published the Excellence in Continence Care guidance in 2015 in order to help support best practice in continence care, and the Department would expect local commissioners to both draw on the guidance and monitor progress in improving continence care. (answered 10 May 2018)

Thangam Debbonaire (Lab, Bristol West): “what assessment the Department of Health and Social Care has made of the effect of the Paediatric Continence Commissioning Guide published in 2014 and accredited by NICE.” (asked 1st May)

Steve Brine (Health Minister): No national assessment of the effect of the guidance has been made. The paediatric continence commissioning guide sets out a clear set of specifications for commissioners to follow, including for paediatric incontinence services. The Department expects local commissioners to draw on the guide in commissioning services and to keep their incontinence services under review. (answered 10 May 2018)

Thangam Debbonaire (Lab, Bristol West):  “what assessment the Department of Health and Social Care has made of the effect on paediatric continence services of the transfer of public health commissioning responsibilities from NHS England to local authorities in 2015.” (asked 1st May)

Steve Brine (Health Minister): No such assessment has been made. (answered 10 May 2018)

PCF attends Report Launch in Parliament

On February 28th 2018 the PCF attended the Parliamentary launch of the research report ‘It happens to me too‘ – about the impact of continence problems on the social and educational lives of young people. The aim of this report is to highlight the importance of breaking down the barriers faced by children and young people with bladder and bowel difficulties.

Supported by the Company, Coloplast Ltd., the report’s contributors are: the PCF, ERIC: The Children’s Bowel & Bladder Charity, the University of Bristol and Bladder & Bowel UK. All are members of the PCF.

The evening included an address by a young person with a continence difficulty and a parent. It was hosted by Rosie Cooper MP,  Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Continence Care and was well attended by parliamentarians, clinicians and service users – all with a common interest in this often-neglected area of children’s health. The PCF looks forward to continuing to work with these partners.

Coloplast report launch picture

                    Penny Dobson, Chair, Paediatric Continence Forum; Rosie Cooper MP, Chair, Continence Care APPG; Gerald Chan, Head of Public Affairs and Communications, Coloplast; Juliette Randall, Chief Executive, ERIC