The NHS is making a device available to women with stress urinary incontinence (SUI) to help them strengthen their pelvic floor muscles.
The NHS has established a partnership with femtech company Elvie to help better support women SUI.
Through the partnership, the NHS will supply the Elvie Trainer, a connected device which takes women through a five-minute Kegel exercise to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles.
The consumer device typically retails at £169 but will be available through the NHS Supply Chain at no cost to the patient.
The device is placed inside the vagina and connects to an app in which the user can receive biofeedback to help improve their technique. The biofeedback within the device is thought to improve both compliance and success rates by 10% as well as reduce surgery rates by 50%; helping to save £424 per patient. More so, research presented at the International Continence Society annual conference 2017 found that 80% of the women who used Elvie Trainer to treat a problem saw improvements and 98% did so in less than six weeks.
SUI is a common problem affecting an estimated one in three women which costs the NHS £233 million every year. SUI is the most common form of urinary incontinence and in the majority of cases can be reduced or eliminated by pelvic floor muscle training.
Hannah Rose Thomson, head of Strategic Partnerships and Health, Elvie, said: “The availability of Elvie Trainer through NHS Supply Chain represents the opportunity to reduce costs to the NHS and improve outcomes for patients. This is the first single-patient biofeedback for long-term use to be available to NHS patients, which will enable improved compliance between hospital visits and thereafter. Especially in light of recent events, we’re thrilled that the NHS is investing in tools to support conservative management of stress urinary incontinence and mild-moderate prolapse.”
Clare Pacey, specialist women’s health physiotherapist, Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am delighted that the Elvie Trainer is now available via the NHS Supply Chain. It is a beautiful product, simple to use and the immediate visual feedback directly to your phone screen can be extremely rewarding and motivating. It helps to make pelvic floor rehabilitation fun, which is essential in order to be maintained.”