Islanders are spending a fortune on continence aids as waiting times soar.
A pensioner who wished to remain anonymous told the Isle of Wight Observer that they have been spending “£6 a day” on incontinence pads as they have yet to be seen by a continence nurse.
The source claims that current levels of demand have forced waiting times up to between 10 and 15 weeks for a continence nurse assessment as that is what she was told by NHS staff. The NHS would not confirm the exact waiting times, although they did say staff sickness has been partially responsible for the increase.
The source believes those affected are spending a fortune on aids and resorting to extreme tactics.
“I have just spoken to the hospital on my own behalf and they tell me the average waiting list is 10 to 15 weeks for assessments,” the source said on Wednesday (July 25).
“Carers tell me they have elderly people they go to see that actually have tried to dry out pads because they can’t get anymore – which is a disgraceful situation isn’t it?”
A spokesman for the NHS Continence Service at St Mary’s Hospital said: “We recognise the huge impact that incontinence can have on quality of life and understand that for some, the symptoms can be difficult to manage.
“We currently receive on average, ten new referrals each day. Urgent referrals such as those needing input in readiness for and after surgery, or needing intervention to help pass urine are prioritised.
“We do appreciate that there are currently a number of people that have been referred into the service and are waiting to be seen by a continence nurse and we are working really hard to ensure these people are reviewed as soon as possible.”
The spokesman explained that the reason for the current increase in waiting times is because the service usually runs on three nurses, but unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances at the beginning of the year, it was running on one nurse.
This increased to two in March and has been back to its full complement of three, since the beginning of July.
The spokesman continued: “For those that are waiting to be seen our advice is to go to the toilet regularly, continue to drink plenty of cold fluids and purchase continence products as required.”
Jane Goddard, owner and manager of Community Spirited care agency wants people to help the NHS save money and reduce waste. She has come up with the idea of families passing on unused continence aids after their relatives no longer have use for them.
You can drop clean and unused continence aids off to Parkside Pavillion, Vectis Road, East Cowes between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. The care agency will then make sure those in need get the continence aids and make good use of them.
Age UK Isle of Wight would like to direct patients to the following link to their national website for information, and would advise that if a person’s symptoms changed or got worse, they should speak to a medical professional. You can view their website here.