Summary of report content
During Autumn 2020, Healthwatch Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (HW BNSSG) and the Bladder and Bowel CONfidence Health Integration Team (BABCON HIT) conducted a collaborative project to investigate the impact that Covid-19 had on people using bladder and bowel services to inform decision making during service recovery and future service innovation.
- Healthwatch found a clear message of societal underestimation of the seriousness or impact of bladder and bowel leakage on people in need of the services.
- Reduced access to services or complete lack of awareness of the availability of services was reported due to a lack of visibility and validation that these symptoms are worthy of focus.
- There was a reliance on informal caregivers for those with bladder and bowel symptoms who are not well supported either.
- Lack of public toilets fails to recognise the far-reaching implications for the many people experiencing bladder or bowel leakage, who rely on these vital facilities to enable activity and interaction outside of the home.
- A third of the respondents reported effects on their bladder and bowel health and subsequent impact on mental health due to altered services.
- Most service users require advice and guidance to manage and improve symptoms of bladder and bowel leakage.
- Advantages and disadvantages to largely remote consultations were reported, highlighting that service provision needs to meet the needs of the individual.
The report contains recommendations from Healthwatch and response from BABCON as next steps.