West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has leant her support to children and young people with bladder and bowel issues at the launch of a new report in Parliament.

MP Rosie, who serves as Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Continence Care endorsed the report and delivered the keynote speech at the launch introducing speakers who told of their experiences.

The report ‘It happens to me too’, found that support for the nearly 900,000 children and young people in the UK with bladder and bowel issues is inadequate and needs to be addressed urgently.

The report highlights the significant stigma that exists around bladder and bowel issues. Almost two thirds of young people said they would be embarrassed to see a doctor about continence issues resulting in a significant impact on their day to day lives. Despite the burden on the lives of children and young people, evidence shows a lack of early intervention in diagnosing and treating bladder and bowel conditions and the risk that young people are not supported through the transition from child to adult services.

Introducing the report, Rosie Cooper MP said:
“I am well aware of the challenges facing children and young people with bladder and bowel issues. This is an issue we haven’t fully got to grips with in the UK by any means, it is believed there are over 21 million people in the UK who suffer with bladder and bowel control problems, 900,000 of whom are children and young people.

“There is often a stigma associated with bladder and bowel problems, which impacts on the ability of children and young people to interact socially and live as independently as possible in their local communities. Children and young people face further challenges in gaining access to practical advice that explains what they should expect from their local health and social care services.”

3.jpgPictured: Dr Penny Dobson, Paediatric Continence Forum; Rosie Cooper MP; Ms Amy Attrill, ERIC -; The Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity; and Anne Fyfe, Mencap

Recommendations in the report include:

  • Swift implementation of Excellent in Continence Care (EICC) to deliver a clear framework for delivering high quality bladder and bowel services including knowledge over patient rights and access to services.
  • One community-based service covering day and night time wetting, soiling and constipation problems.
  • Local services should seek to identify people with continence issues who may be at risk and offer a comprehensive assessment to look for ‘red flags’ indicating an underlying condition.
  • Bladder and bowel services for young people should employ a paediatric continence nurse specialist.
  • Local pathways should be implemented, through which healthcare professionals can refer young people on to other services such as specialist care, social services or mental health services if appropriate.

Following the event Rosie Cooper MP commented:
“We hope launching this report will remove the social stigma of bladder and bowel issues, reassure young people that their problems need not prevent them from achieving their life goals, as well as offering guidance and advice on seeking help. This report will be the first step in helping to improve the lives of the children, young people and their families affected by bladder and bowel problems.

“More must be done to ensure that the support that is needed to allow them to get on with their lives and realise their full potential is available to them, no matter where they live. I look forward to working with the groups involved in the report to take forward its recommendations.”

Chair of the Paediatric Continence Forum (PCF), Dr Penny Dobson MBE said:
“Many children and young people with bladder and bowel problems suffer in silence, and whilst help is out there it can be difficult to navigate.

“The social stigma that exists around bladder and bowel issues prevents so many children and young people from coming forward and seeking the help they so desperately need. Some suffer in silence for years, not knowing that solutions exist. Many don’t know who to turn to and sometimes fall victim to bullying at school or on social media. The message for them is clear – there is no need to be ashamed.”


Pictured: Dr Penny Dobson, Paediatric Continence Forum; Rosie Cooper MP; Mr Gerald Chan, Coloplast UK; and Juliette Randall, CEO of ERIC -; The Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity

  1. The report is available online here
  2. The report was developed in partnership with the Paediatric Continence Forum (PCF), charities ERIC The Children’s Bladder and Bowel Charity and Bladder & Bowel UK, the University of Bristol and Coloplast.
  3. The Excellence in Continence Care (EICC) report is available here
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