Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services
Faecal incontinence (FI) can affect anyone. The largest group is women, both young and old due to the association with pregnancy and obstetric injury. However there are multiple other causes, including surgery for cancer and radiotherapy which affect both men and women.
Following the launch of MASIC (Mothers with Anal Sphincter Injuries in Childbirth) Foundation in Wales, I asked the Women’s Health National Specialist Advisory Group (NSAG) to assess the current situation around FI provision and services.
A task and finish group, chaired by Julie Cornish (consultant colorectal surgeon, Cardiff and Vale UHB), was formed to provide a report setting out the current services to promote pelvic health for women with faecal incontinence in Wales, identify any shortfalls in treatment availability of NICE approved treatment and to make recommendations for service development.
I wish to express my thanks to all members of the group for their hard work in the preparation of their report, which I am pleased to publish today. This report will form the basis on which we can improve the lives of those affected by faecal incontinence.
The Group make a number of recommendations to improve FI services and provide better outcomes for women. This includes ensuring the referral process between departments and hospitals is streamlined to avoid delays and improve communication, General Practitioners and other health professionals having greater awareness of FI, how to manage it and providing more information to women on the potential risks of childbirth on pelvic health and continence (antenatal and postnatal).
It is important that serious health issues affecting women are dealt with effectively and appropriately. For this reason, I have directed the Women’s Health Implementation Group (WHIG), chaired by Tracy Myhill, Chief Executive of ABMU Health Board, to consider all the recommendations in this report alongside its work on vaginal mesh and tape, endometriosis and the wider matters of pelvic health.
The Women’s Health Implementation Group will provide strategic leadership to ensure an all-Wales approach to break down barriers and join up pathways between primary, secondary and tertiary care, so women’s health is managed in the community wherever possible, with minimal need for intervention. I have previously announced that the WHIG is being supported by up to £1 million of annual funding.