NHS England’s national clinical director for long term conditions, Dr Martin McShane, has called for improvements in continence care.

McShane encouraged use of NHS England’s recently published Excellence in Continence Care guidance for commissioners, providers, health and social care staff as a way of raising standards in continence care, as well as better information for the public.

Writing in a blog post, McShane described great continence care as the "Holy Grail”, as it can drive better quality of life and reduce costs.

He said that the standards of continence care need to be raised, with better knowledge for professionals and individuals with bladder and bowel problems on how to find help, access resources and understand that standards can be achieved.

He added that continence is an area where health and social care can work together to "support and enable independence, support less reliance on pads and products by using alternative treatments, reduce admissions to hospitals and care homes and avoid complications”.

He stressed the need to "empower people to self-manage and live independently with personal dignity”.

McShane commented that continence is something which "embarrasses” people, adding that those with continence problems "suffer in silence” and "often get ignored”.

He said that it is not just a physical problem, but "psychologically distressing”, quoting research from the Bladder and Bowel Community that half of those with continence problems who called their helpline had never spoken to a healthcare professional about their problems.

ERIC's General Children's Continence Pathway developed by the ERIC Nurse aims to improve the care provided by professionals looking after children and teenagers with bladder and bowel conditions. View the continence pathway here