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Thread: UK retail nappies and the National Health

  1. #1

    Default UK retail nappies and the National Health

    Having read a post by FinnishBabyBoy, properly this time, I've become aware of a very big difference between the UK (and maybe Finland, going by what Finnish says) and the USA.

    Here in the UK it has always been hard to find decent, robust diapers in the retail sector. The dominant pharmacy chain in the UK is Boots, and as any British AB/DL will tell you their incontinence products - even the ones sold as being for 'heavy' incontinence - are comically unfit for purpose. Anything more than a slow trickle of pee overwhelms them. Anyone wanting products that could handle even one heavy wetting had to seek out shops that were aimed at disability/mobility issues, at least some of which carried incontinence pads of a more robust nature. These were rare enough in the first place, only to be found in larger towns, but in recent years, thanks to the convenience of internet ordering and delivery, a lot of these shops have been closing down. So now, for instance, in the city I live in - Glasgow - it is basically impossible to get anything on the High Street apart from the aforementioned Boots products ... which are only really useful for fancy dress purposes.

    In contrast, on those occasions when I've visited America, I've found that every mall, or city street, has a Walgreens or a CVS or an equivalent - in which heavy duty incontinence kit is carried as standard. It's just occurred to me why this should be the case.

    It isn't because Americans are more incontinent than us. It's because of the National Health Service here in Britain. Anyone suffering from genuinely severe incontinence here in the UK will have gone to their doctor, and received a prescription for proper incontinence pants and pads - historically, they will either have paid nothing for these, or will have had to make only token payments. The result has been that there was no point in the retail sector doing much to compete. And the result for UK based AB/DLs was that getting access to properly made plastic pants and properly made adult nappies has always been hard - sometimes close to impossible. Whilst in America, without government-subsidised health provision, the opposite was the case.

    I suspect that some British AB/DLs in the past may have had to go so far as to fake incontinence, present themselves at their medical practice, and basically obtain useable diapers on prescription by fraud. I wonder if any of our older British members have any experience or reminiscences to offer about obtaining incontinence supplies in the fifties, sixties, seventies?

    The irony is that from every other point of view I am enormously proud of the British National Health Service. Only in this one case do I find myself wishing that we had never had one. The internet has made it not just easy, but possible for British ABDLs to lay their hands on decent diapers - but we're at the mercy of delivery times. How much easier it would be if we could - as people still can in America - go down to the local mall or high street and buy something at a time and in a place when we're sure no-one is going to see. Much easier than fearfully contemplating the possibility that parents or partners will come to the door, bemusedly receive a large, slightly squashy package, and open it to discover a new world of incontinence protection ...

  2. #2

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    From what i've seen, the NHS tend to use a lot of Euron products, never tried them myself though (yet).
    The Boots "stat dry" range is rebadged Attends.
    Many specialist shops (not just mobility ones) have closed due to punishingly high rents, & ever increasing business rates... it seems councils would rather have nothing other than huge supermarkets in their towns!

  3. #3

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    I think there has been a vast improvement in the past few years with shops stocking nappies. I have been into my local ASDA and Sainsburys and seen that they have Tenas on the shelves. And Lidls a few months ago had those Simpres, not the best in the world, but better than nothing.

    But yes, I do agree with Timmywimmy and tigerboy

  4. #4

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    Right let me stop you there, I have incon and I'm a Student, So without the NHS I'd still be waking up in a wet bed. What's stopping you from ordering online from say Dorset Nursing and if it's because you live with your parents. Why don't you get a P.O box at the post office.

    Maybe I'm missing the point though.

  5. #5

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    Online ordering is fine if you have your own place and ideally can be in when they arrive, but it would be good to have more places to be able to buy a decent selection off the shelf when that's not convenient. I think you can order Tena Slips etc. from behind the pharmacy counter in places like Boots, they will get them in for you, but I haven't tried that method.

  6. #6

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    I don't know what you call a "robust" protection, but american diapers are among the worst I've tried. Especially those sold in large chains retail stores. The only descent product that is widely available there is Tranquility ATN. It's an ok diaper, but it's still far from the quality of a Tena diaper.

    Speaking of Tena, it's the only quality brand that is whidely sold both in USA and Canada. The good stuff is in speciality stores like in the UK.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by nj78 View Post
    Online ordering is fine if you have your own place and ideally can be in when they arrive, but it would be good to have more places to be able to buy a decent selection off the shelf when that's not convenient. I think you can order Tena Slips etc. from behind the pharmacy counter in places like Boots, they will get them in for you, but I haven't tried that method.
    I pick up my Tena Slips from Boots so I guess it is possible to ask them to order, I know there's a medical store in my town that still allows you to do that.

  8. #8

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    Hi all I use Tena and yes found them great. However I have also had the pleasure of visiting other countries like Italy and Usa Malta and all these places have supermarkets about the same size as a larger Tesco or Asda and stock a good range of nappies for adults. I live in Ireland and find it even more difficult here to get nappies and have to order specially. Like previous comment I can't always be here when stuff arrives by post and can be a little embarrassing for my wife when postman delivers to shop where she works when no access at home

  9. #9

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    I use Euron form - on the Irish HSE - I do recommend them as they are very absorbant and do the job very well. Not too thick and not very noticeable under clothing. Euron form Super Plus to be exact. Lots of Sap and comparable to Molicare and other top brands does just as well in performance. In my opinion anyway.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob111 View Post
    I don't know what you call a "robust" protection, but american diapers are among the worst I've tried. Especially those sold in large chains retail stores. The only descent product that is widely available there is Tranquility ATN. It's an ok diaper, but it's still far from the quality of a Tena diaper.

    Speaking of Tena, it's the only quality brand that is whidely sold both in USA and Canada. The good stuff is in speciality stores like in the UK.
    Even the worst American diaper is better than what Boots stock on their standard shelves! The Tenas that people mention - well, the only ones I've seen in Boots are the pull-up pants. These can certainly handle one good wetting - but two good wettings and they're overcome. And as far as I'm concerned they're not very diaper-ish - they're just pull ups.
    Last edited by timmywimmy; 14-Feb-2012 at 11:48. Reason: clarification

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