What is this all about ?
MUST is about making sure urine samples/specimans are trustworthy. Clean samples that will enable right-first-time diagnosis and treatment
Unlike blood, there is no protocol – set of formal guidelines – for the collection of urine specimens. And urine is essential in the diagnosis of numerous illnesses and health conditions.
Of the 65 million specimens collected every year – around 14 million will not be able to be used – because they are contaminated.
This relates to 45,000 patients every day potentially not receiving the treatment they should.
Clinical evidence clearly shows it is possible to bring down contamination from the average national of 22.5% to as little as 1.5%.
And financially, the adoption of alternative collection processes would release much needed funds back into the NHS – up to xx million through.
The MUST campaign is vital for the long-term future of patients, future generations and the health care sector.
It’s not a topic people want to discuss so MUST is about bringing it to the attention of those who need to know and making them listen. Signing the petition will take us that one step further in Making Urine Specimens Trustworthy
We will advise of the link when the petition is open - please sign.
What is the MUST campaign all about?
The MUST campaign – Making Urine Specimens Trustworthy - is about establishing a protocol – a formal set of guidelines – that must be adopted to enable patients to provide a clean urine specimen that will help ensure they receive right-first-time diagnosis and treatment of their health condition.
Many people – including some in the health sector – don't like talking about urine. They think of it as dirty – a waste product.
The reality is that it’s “liquid goal”. It is the most common diagnostic test for routine and specialist medicine is the analysis of your urine. It is also arguably the most valuable specimen that can point to both basic and complex health issues. And, unlike blood, it is non-invasive to collect pointing to safer patient care.
Why is it so important?
Urine is used to used to define a whole range of health conditions from basic urinary tract infection to more complex conditions including some cancers, diabetes, antenatal issues and much, much more.
Every year, over 65 million specimens are requested by health professional of their patients but of these, over 14.5 million specimens will be contaminated and unable to be used – that’s 45,000 people in the UK being affected.
And because they can’t be used, it’s a waste of both time and money in that
- patients will have to return to surgeries and clinics to provide another sample
- there will be the additional administration and time of the healthcare professional
- the actual testing – analysis of the specimen – will have to be done again by the laboratory
- incorrect treatment may be prescribed in the meantime, including expensive and unnecessary broad-spectrum antibiotics
- and in some cases, we have heard of operations being cancelled and much needed treatment delayed.
An individual at this very moment will not be receiving right-first-time diagnosis and treatment they might desperately need just because an area of basic medicine is being overlooked.
Why does contamination occur?
There are many reasons and much of it is about how the urine specimen is provided and handled.
The most common way for a specimen to be requested is by us being given a tube or container and told to go to the toilet and pee into it. We give the, often damp, container back to the doctor or nurse who then puts it on the shelf – where it could sit for some hours - before it’s collected to go the laboratory where it is decanted into another tube for analysis. It’s messy, it’s undignified and contamination can take place at any point.
The taking of blood is carefully monitored at all stages – urine is not. We need a more hygienic, dignified and more trustworthy process.
Who does it affect?
This is a national issue and potentially affects every individual living in the UK – people of all ages – it does not discriminate. It is likely that everyone at some point or other will be asked to provide a urine specimen.
Our research shows that whilst the national average level of specimen contamination is 22.5%, it can vary vastly depending where you live in the country. In one area of the country, contamination was recorded at over 70% - however the good news is that clinical evidence shows this can be significantly reduced to as little as 1.5%.
What sort of problems have you heard about? (Case Studies)
Pregnant lady who was repeatedly being told she had high glucose levels, only to find she was using an old jam jar that although in theory ‘clean’, had sugar residue which skewed her glucose count.
Why is your organisation involved? Who else is involved and why?
We’re involved because change is needed. Urine sample collection is an overlooked area of basic medicine and the time has come to address the issue. We know that it can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment meaning that patirnts suffer longer than necessary.
Our partners and supporters include: The Urology Foundation, CUTIC and The MAMA Academy plus other charities that understand the value in the case for change.
Our patients/stakeholders are frustrated – and know things could be better
What do you want people to do?
We want the powers that be in Government, the NHS, in all those initiatives that are seeking to improve the service to accept the need and then develop a protocol for the collection of urine specimens …. So that we, the patients, can have the confidence that when we are asked to provide a specimen, we can in the safe knowledge that we will receive right-first-time diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
When it is launched ( watch the Whats New space) Click here for further information and to sign the petition. We need 100,000 to get things going which will include a debate at the highest level of Government and the Department of Health.