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Stoma Prescribing Service

How did we engage?

From July 30th July to 23rd September 2019 NHS Liverpool CCG sought views from people using stoma products, carers and support groups in order to inform design of a stoma prescribing service. The findings of this engagement are presented in this report.

We'd like to thank everyone who shared their views.

The proposals set out were informed by previous engagement with patients in 2017 and a pilot of a similar service with catheter products.

In line with the broad support for the service proposals shown in the engagement report, NHS Liverpool CCG did some further work to shape the service specification and prepare for the process to find a suitable provider. However, as a result of this it became clear that the model we were looking at would not work for Liverpool alone. We have therefore joined a bigger project to set up a stoma prescription service for patients across Cheshire and Merseyside. This doesn’t mean a change to what we were proposing, but it does mean that it will take slightly longer to put a service in place for Liverpool patients than originally planned. We hope this new process will get underway during 2020, but we’ll provide further updates on this page when we know more about the timescales.

If you have any queries regarding this please contact us:

Who uses stoma products and what are they?

A stoma is an opening on your abdomen that can be connected to either your digestive or urinary system. There are three main types: colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy. Stoma surgery is undertaken to treat a range of illnesses including cancer, diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease or following a trauma to the abdomen.

What are we proposing?

At the moment, once you are discharged from hospital your repeat prescriptions for stoma products are issued by your GP (family doctor). We’re proposing that in the future this is done by a specialist stoma products ordering service overseen by stoma nurses for patients in Liverpool. A trained advisor from the service would call you every month to ask what products you need and how you are feeling; you would also have the option to order online if you would prefer. If you are having any problems, you would be referred to a stoma nurse for more support. All prescriptions would be approved by a stoma nurse before they were issued. The new service would send prescriptions straight to your chosen pharmacy or delivery company (also known as a Dispensing Appliance Contractor or DAC) so that they could issue your products. 

As well as taking your orders, the new service would offer patients a face to face review with a stoma nurse each year, either in a community clinic or at home. There would be an emergency contact number for outside of office hours, including bank holidays.

You would still choose which community pharmacy (local chemist) or delivery company dispenses and delivers your products. Your GP and stoma clinic would be advised of any changes to your prescription, so that everyone involved in your care is kept in the loop.

Children requiring stoma products would have a nominated parent, guardian or carer who will liaise with the service on their behalf.

A similar service to this was introduced in Liverpool for urology appliances (such as catheters) in 2017, and patient feedback has been very positive.


Why change?

To make sure that patients get the right products, in the right quantity: There are lots of different stoma products and accessories available and new products are being introduced all the time. GPs generally have limited experience to be able to accurately prescribe type or quantity of product. Products can easily be incorrectly used or inappropriately prescribed. If products are used incorrectly the risk of infection, rashes, and leakage is increased.

To make sure that patients are reviewed so that changes are picked up: We have found that some patients, particularly those requiring stoma products long term, do not have regular reviews to make sure that prescribed products are still meeting their needs. Stomas can change over time so it is important that products are reviewed. A review can help avoid a number of issues, such as patients using products incorrectly, products not being updated or changed to meet new needs, and patients being prescribed inappropriate products. All these issues can affect quality of life and potentially result in infections, ill health and sometimes even admission to hospital. 

To improve quality of life for stoma patients: Having the incorrect products – or using them incorrectly – can have an enormous effect on a person’s mental and social wellbeing. If a product isn’t working properly people might not want to leave the house or do activities that they would otherwise enjoy, this can lead to social isolation, poor quality of life and low self-esteem.  

To reduce waste: Currently, costs for prescribing stoma products are rising but without an increase in quality of care for patients. We think this is because sometimes the wrong products – or amounts – are being ordered. Creating a dedicated ordering point for stoma prescriptions could reduce waste costs, while improving care for patients in the city.

Who is proposing this change?

NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible for planning and buying most local health services, including hospital, community and GP services. We have developed proposals for the new stoma service with nurses who specialise in caring for stoma patients.

When would this change be introduced?

Between Tuesday 30th July to Monday 23rd September 2019 we asked you to share your views about this proposal by filling out a short survey.

We will use the feedback from the survey make a final decision about the service – at the moment we expect that this decision will be made during autumn 2019. We would then start to make plans for who would provide the service, and when it would begin. We would get in touch with patients again before any changes happen.

What will we do with the information you provide in the survey?

We will use the information collected in this survey to inform plans and highlight any issues that we may not have thought about yet. 


The survey is now closed

Please check back later for more updates, or sign up to receive email updates here.


The survey could have been requested in other formats as well:

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