A DECISION to stop providing absorbency pads to patients with incontinence has been described as ‘degrading and thoughtless’.
More than 1,000 patients across the county will be affected by the cost-cutting measure by Worcestershire Health and Care Trust.
From May 5, those people currently receiving free low absorbency pads including Tena Comfort Mini Plus, Tena Comfort Mini Extra, Tena for Men level 1 and 2, Euron micro plus and Attends 3, will either have to buy them online or from a supermarket, which could cost a minimum of £30 a month.
The Trust hope the move will save about £130,000.
But councillors are now calling for Worcestershire County Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) to investigate the decision.
Coun Richard Udall, deputy leader of the Labour group on Worcestershire County Council, said those affected may have been willing to make some contribution to the service, which could have been cheaper than buying them commercially.
“To cut this service without considering the consequences is very wrong. Their quality of life will be undermined. If they do not have the ability to pay they may become housebound by this thoughtless and degrading decision.”
Coun Graham Vickery, who represents Redditch North and sits on HOSC, said it was wrong to cut the service without consultation with commissioners.
“It may seem trivial to some people but for those who have these conditions it can be extremely uncomfortable and distressing and they deserve as much sympathy, help and support as any other patient with any other condition.”
A spokesman for the Trust said only 16 per cent of the 7,000 plus people who were supported by the continence service would be affected by the decision as those requiring medium or high absorbency pads would still get them free.
“We are one of only a few trusts nationally which provides all three levels of absorbency pads free of charge.
“The level of absorbency pad is determined following a clinical assessment and according to need and, in line with Department of Health guidance and with what generally happens elsewhere in the country, we are to stop providing the low absorbency pads free of charge from May 5.” he said.
“We understand this is a sensitive issue for the 16 per cent affected but the savings this will generate will be reinvested into the service to help us promote continence through effective treatment plans as well as providing support to help manage incontinence.”