drunkUK experts call for the reduction of inefficiencies in the local management of overactive bladder (OAB), in a new report published today.

The report, Quality in the Community – Practical advice to optimise care and reduce inefficiencies in the local management of Overactive Bladder aims to provide practical advice for local commissioners, primary care professionals and those involved in service design to help them manage OAB and urinary incontinence in community settings. 

The Panel strongly believes there is a need to maximise efficiencies and minimise waste when treating, and managing, OAB. The report was funded by Astellas Pharma Ltd who nominated the authors, organised and funded the meeting and checked the report for factual accuracy.

A combination of GP’s increasing workloads, cost and time pressures may mean that some patients are referred directly to secondary care with little initial investigations undertaken in a primary care setting. This may result in inconvenience for the patient, if they are often being referred between primary and secondary care, as well as too much reliance on secondary care to assess and treat patients. The Panel believe that patients should be managed in accordance with NICE Guidelines in a community setting, with referral to secondary care when appropriate, to improve both patient experience and care quality.

“When people do seek NHS help for their condition the Panel believe that they should be treated with dignity and compassion, and given the most appropriate care in the most appropriate setting. It is hoped that this report will help to facilitate this and encourage better integrated care. NICE Clinical Guidelines make it clear that many interventions, including physiotherapy and drug treatment, should in most cases be initiated in primary care and a referral to specialist hospital-based services is necessary only when patients have failed on these treatments. The report aims to streamline these existing guidelines and provide practical benefits to those treating patients with OAB, helping them better manage the condition in a primary care setting which will benefit both patients and the NHS,” commented Mr John Peters, Consultant Urological Surgeon and Clinical Director at Whipps Cross University Hospital.

The Panel believes that OAB represents a good example whereby an optimised service can help to deliver better outcomes (as measured against the NHS Outcomes Framework) as well as reduce the burden on the service through preventing inappropriate referrals and reducing the impact of comorbidities and acute care admissions.

OAB is a common and costly condition which can be difficult for people to talk about and which can have a significant impact on quality of life. The report includes simple patient pathways for male and female OAB, adapted from the NICE Guidelines, to help local healthcare professionals deliver streamlined quality care.