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This is #SeriousSh1t - campaign launch

Many will be shocked and appalled to hear some of the stories we are going to be sharing as part of our campaign, but this is the reality of life for far too many spinal cord injured people. This is Serious Sh1t.

Dave Bracher our campaigns manager

Our major campaign to stop SCI patients suffering harmful neglect because they are being denied essential bowel care in some medical settings was launched at the recent meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on SCI. The assembled parliamentarians and observers heard a powerful, emotive speech from Carol Adcock (our SCI specialist nurse lead for the North), and watched a patient perspective from Jerry Ward that really brought home the impact of poor bowel care on his ability to lead a fulfilled life.

We also heard an excellent healthcare workers perspective from Fiona Le Ber (Queen’s Nurse, clinical nurse specialist for Bladder and Bowel, and Committee Chair of the Bladder & Bowel Forum at the Royal College of Nursing). We’re totally committed to working with organisations like the Royal College of Nursing to succeed in our campaign, and it was great that Fiona was able to speak for healthcare workers and all the issues they face, whilst recognising the serious issues with the lack of bowel care provision and endorsing our campaign.

We all rely on the brilliant, hardworking, dedicated healthcare professionals for care and support, but for reasons such as local trust policy, lack of training and knowledge, and misconceptions about what’s allowed and what isn’t, SCI people are consistently being denied essential bowel care. This injustice and indignity must stop, which is why we’ve launched this campaign.

Our ambition is to ensure that every healthcare setting across England and Wales has a fully implemented and appropriate bowel care policy in place, driving up standards so that SCI people going into hospital can be certain that their bowel care needs will be fully supported and managed. We believe this change can be achieved by:

  • Better education and training for healthcare professionals through all NHS Trusts having a bowel care policy, so that healthcare professionals can focus on their responsibility to give high quality bowel care to their patients.
  • Healthcare professionals to escalate any issues they come across, so that senior staff are aware. If a healthcare professional isn’t competent to undertake bowel care for a patient who requires it, it’s their responsibility to escalate this to a person of authority to identify a competent practitioner within the organisation that can carry the bowel care out.
  • NHS England to provide clear specialist bowel care guidance to NHS Trusts and healthcare professionals on their responsibilities, and to commit to ensuring all student healthcare professionals are correctly trained on specialist bowel care.
  • All SCI people to have an emergency care plan in place, so that your essential care needs are clearly documented if you ever have to be admitted into hospital.
  • SCI patients knowing how to raise an anonymous complaint to the NHS through the official channels about poor bowel care, or any care with the potential to cause harm.
  • SCI people to report any instances of poor bowel care in healthcare settings to us, so we can use these powerful examples to bring about change.


Read more in the campaigns section of our website.  To book an appointment to complete an emergency care plan visit our SCI clinical specialists page.

Speaking about the campaign, Dave Bracher our campaigns manager said:

“We understand that change won’t happen overnight, but we will continue to actively campaign on this issue until we see an end to this needless suffering.  It’s time we were all more open about bowel care but unfortunately, it’s still a subject that patients feel embarrassed to discuss. Many will be shocked and appalled to hear some of the stories we are going to be sharing as part of our campaign, but this is the reality of life for far too many spinal cord injured people. This is Serious Sh1t.”

If you want to support this vital campaign, for example by writing to your MP about this issue or by contacting your local healthcare provider to see what bowel care policy they have in place, please contact Dave at [email protected]