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A multi-professional UK wide survey of undergraduate continence education


  • Conflict of interest: none.

  • Robert Pickard led the peer-review process as the Associate Editor responsible for the paper.



Findings from national audits and enquiries continue to report that care for patients with continence problems is often substandard and inadequate education is often cited as one of the probable causes. These factors combined with the forecasted increase in the number of people with incontinence prompted us to undertake a survey of all UK Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to establish the amount of undergraduate continence education within relevant healthcare programs—medical, adult nursing, mental health nursing, learning disabilities nursing, children's nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy.


An on line questionnaire targeted course program leads (n = 362) in all 86 HEIs in which undergraduate professional healthcare programs were provided (n = 362).

Main Outcome Measure

Eighty-six HEIs were approached, 85 agreed to participate in the survey. A response rate of 81% (n = 294/362 programs) was obtained: 14% (n = 42) of respondents reported that there was no continence-related education within their undergraduate program. The mean number of hours was 4.7 (SD 4.3), and ranged from 2.5 (SD 3.5) hr (Occupational Therapy) to 7.3 (SD 4.8) hr (Adult Nursing).


The survey results indicate that the amount of undergraduate education has changed little. Further research is needed to identify the most appropriate methods of delivering continence education and translate knowledge into improved patient outcomes. Adequate undergraduate continence education directed by the General Medical Council, Royal Colleges and Health Professional Council is required. Neurourol. Urodynam. 32: 224–229, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.