Campaigners have welcomed a government decision, announced last week by junior health minister Paul Boateng, to set up a review of continence services.

Mr Boateng said a working group headed by the NHS Executive will undertake a thorough review of policy with the aim of producing new guidance next spring. It will include professional and voluntary organisations, health and social services managers.

Sue Thomas, Royal College of Nursing continence care advisor, said the announcement followed months of lobbying to get the government to look at the effects of the imposition of VAT on continence products in January this year. She said this had led to a 'general disinvestment' in services across the country.

Simon Hombersley, co-ordinator of the Continence Campaign, said it was 'thrilled' with the review, but urged providers to improve their services and 'not allow them to deteriorate further'.

Mr Boateng said: 'I want to ensure that the NHS provides a modern continence service that lets people have access to high quality, prompt and readily available assistance.'