Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

29th June 2017

Who pays for extra incontinence pads?

On last week's TV programme investigating Bupa Care Homes, it was stated that if a person had run out of incontinence pads the home should provide more. Now the fact that the NHS does not provide enough seems to be quite a common problem.

Who should pay for extra, the person using them or the care provider?

Dear M,

Thank you for your question. This is a very important question which I am hearing more and more.

I discussed this with a colleague and this is her opinion

"You must always consider the dignity of the service user and their need to receive high quality care. If a service user is running out of pads, you should ask for an urgent reassessment as there could be a change in condition. If you are still concerned and feel that the service user is at risk of harm (i.e. too few pads may cause tissue viability problems or psychological harm) they should consider raising a safeguarding alert."

Additionally, this is my personal opinion below:

NHS supplies are available to individual patients of the NHS whether they are living in a care home (this does not apply to nursing home care) or living at home.

No individual patient should have to pay for these sorts of supplies. The important words are individual patients.

In my opinion, it is not the responsibility of a care provider to pay for NHS supplies either.

This area has become muddied I think because the NHS sometimes talks about supplying incontinence pads to care homes instead of to the individual patient.

As I hear this question so often now, I am going to write to an official in the Department of Health asking for clarification which I will then share through this column.

Best wishes.


*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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