Small changes, big differences How nursing staff add value to the procurement process

Continence care pads

Shropshire Community Health

In September 2012, Shropshire Community Health undertook a review of how much it spent on community continence care.

The Trust wanted to address concerns it had about the link between pressure ulcers and all-in-one fixation pants.

Devising a solution

NHS Supply Chain and the manufacturing company Ontex UK worked together to put a successful proposal to Andrea Davies, Continence Team Leader at Shropshire Community Health.

The objectives were clear: to improve the product range and reduce use of the all-in-one fixation pants with the aim of saving approximately £50,000 over a year.

The approach

To make the transition as smooth as possible, communication was key. All patients were written to advising of the changes and the reasons for them.

Andrea and her team ran sessions across the region for all clinical staff that needed training on the new products, and provided guidance around how to reduce the use of all-in-one fixation pants.

A review of the delivery cycle helped to cut costs. Where patients were receiving two or fewer pads per delivery their delivery cycle was changed to every 24 weeks. This saved on delivery charges and on wastage where pants may have been stockpiling within a patient’s home.

The results

The project has helped to lessen the risk of pressure ulcers by reducing the number of people using the all-in-one fixation pants.

New shaped pads, which fit inside a patient’s own underwear, allow the patient to retain dignity whilst dealing with a potentially embarrassing condition.


£45,000 was saved between November 2012 and March 2013, with a projected annual saving of £111,000.

Other benefits include the knowledge gained from product training and there are now better relationships between clinical and other staff.

A steering group was set up with representatives from childrens and adults' services that now meets quarterly to share good practice.

There has been excellent feedback on the service from staff, and patients have reported being much happier.

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Page last updated - 02/12/2019