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All NHS Chief Executives urged to adopt sample SIA bowel care policy

Spinal Injuries Association has urged every NHS Trust to make poor bowel care in hospitals a thing of the past for spinal cord injured people. We’re demanding that every Trust meet the requirements of the recent NHS Improvement Patient Safety Alert by adopting our policy on good bowel care for spinal cord injured people. We’re asking every member to write to their local Trust to urge them to adopt our sample policy.

The Alert  highlighted widespread concerns regarding how NHS Trusts meet the bowel care needs of SCI patients when they are admitted. It requires all Trusts to have policies and procedures in place to safely manage spinal cord injured patients’ bowel care needs.

SIA members, (over 70% spinal cord injured), have all too frequently reported harrowingly bad experiences of digital bowel care both when they are admitted to NHS non-specialist hospital settings and in NHS community nursing provision. Our own research shows that 52% of NHS hospital Trusts do not have a policy or guidelines in place, whilst 41% of Trusts do not run courses to train staff in bowel care techniques. An SIA bowel management survey of SIA members who are spinal cord injured saw half of respondents rating bowel management in their hospital as only  0/10 or 1/10 with 40% saying they had developed other complications as a result of the bowel care – or lack of it – they had received.

The alert calls on all providers to review both local clinical policy as well as guidance relating to bowel assessment and management, training and education provision by 25 January 2019, so that patients have access to staff confident and competent in providing safe bowel care.

Carol Adcock SCI Nurse Specialist said.

“We want to work alongside Trusts to drive standards of bowel care for SCI people and help them meet NHSI’s deadline of January 2019 to introduce new care standards. That’s why we’re giving every Trust a head start by sending a sample policy to every Trust that they can adopt and start using from now onwards.”

To request a copy of the sample policy please contact [email protected]

For more information about the training offered by SIA for healthcare professionals working in non-specialist settings, visit the Learn section on this website.

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Good bowel care is a right not a privilege. If you’ve had a bad experience:


Read SIA’s response to the Patient Safety Alert

More information about living with spinal cord injury is available in our resources section.