14th May 2024

New continence specialist training partnership between NHS and University of Derby

Welcome to our first class of learners on a newly created specialist continence module which Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust has launched in partnership with the University of Derby.

The new recruits started on 8 May and will complete their module in August. It follows 18 months of preparatory work between the NHS trust and the university to establish this specialist module.

It has been set up in response to a recognition that more specialist and locally accessible training for health professionals needs to be available in continence care for patients.

Healthcare professionals in all specialties see patients who are significantly affected by bladder and bowel dysfunction, impacting their wellbeing and daily life in many ways. Yet opportunities for specialist training in how to support patients with continence issues have only been available online or further afield, until now.

Group Image of Continence Course Recruits

The 15 inaugural learners are all nursing practitioners from NHS services, primarily from the East Midlands but it is open to nursing practitioners from across England. The module covers adult and paediatric continence, with students following the pathway in which they work. On successful completion of the module students will be awarded a certificate of credit which can be used towards a master’s degree qualification, if they choose to continue with their learning.

Mark Armstrong-Read, sustainability manager for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, explained the need for the new continence module:

“When we investigated this, we found that the only accredited specialist continence training for children is provided by the Continence Foundation of Australia as an e-learning package. Adult continence services were slightly better off, with training offered in Chester, London, Plymouth and Ulster. There was a regional need within the Midlands for an accredited course.                            

“We approached the University of Derby. Using our clinical expertise and their knowledge and experience of training provision we felt would produce the best outcome. A multi-disciplinary team from both organisations was assembled with expertise in adults’ and children’s continence, training and course development, led by an experienced project manager. The team spent some weeks developing a plan, identifying funding and seeking approval, before starting with the course development.” 

Dr David Robertshaw, head of school, nursing and midwifery, at the University of Derby, said: “We’re very proud of this new training programme, and of the specialist training partnership we have developed between Derbyshire Community Health Services and the University of Derby. As a university, this is what we’re about: working with partners to solve problems. This training is desperately needed and partnering with the NHS in this innovative way, enables us to work together to transform how we meet the needs of people with bladder and bowel dysfunction”.                           

Health Education England funded the development of the training package and participants are individually funded to attend the course through their own employers. It is hoped that the module will be run annually for interested healthcare practitioners. Anyone interested in finding out more should visit this webpage:

Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction: Paediatric and Adult - Health, Psychology and Social Care - University of Derby