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A GWENT patients’ group wants to raise awareness of a ‘hidden’ problem believed to affect up to 20 million people in the UK.

Many people who live with continence problems suffer in silence because of embarrassment or a perceived lack of understanding.

But the patients’ panel within Aneurin Bevan Health Board has decided to work with the board’s continence service to help raise awareness of the issues affecting sufferers.

The panel works with the board to help improve services by providing patients’ perspectives, and members want to carry out an annual project to address some issues more deeply. The linkup with the continence service will be the first.

“We work in many areas of the health board helping to improve its services,” said panel chairman Nina Weaver, who added that a talk by Karen Logan, consultant nurse and head of Gwent’s continence service, had sparked members’ interest.

“Many people who suffer in silence from incontinence are too embarrassed to seek help and we want to encourage a dialogue about this distressing condition.

“Sufferers can be either sex or any age and there are treatments which can prevent or reduce the severity of incontinence, particularly if help is sought early. The panel will support the service and offer any practical help we can.

“In particular, members are concerned at the public toilets which are being closed, due to the financial situation.

“This obviously proves a problem to people with continence difficulties.”

It is claimed around 14 million people in the UK have a bladder problem, and more than six million have a bowel control problem.

Karen Logan said the panel’s support will be very valuable in breaking down taboos surrounding continence.

She said: So much can be done for these conditions and my biggest frustration is that people don’t access services to get the help available.

Information on the patients’ panel and its work can be had from Rhian Lewis on 01633 623812, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Source: South Wales Argus