Bladder & Bowel UK Professional Symposium – North West 2024 Round Up

By Michelle Henderson, Clinical Education Manager

It was a pleasure to attend the BBUK symposium in Bolton this month. The venue was packed and, as always, BBUK had come up trumps with an excellent agenda for both adult and paediatric bladder and bowel specialists. 


To ensure you don’t miss out on the latest updates and events, we’ve created our top highlights from the Bladder & Bowel UK’s Professional Symposium – North West in Bolton. 


Here’s what we took away: 


Developing a paediatric pathway and documentation for rectal irrigation 
Michelle Newton – Children’s Bladder and Bowel Specialist Nurse, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust & Davina Richardson – Children’s Specialist Nurse RGN/RSCN, Bladder & Bowel UK  

I was particularly keen to hear Michelle Newton (Children’s Specialist Bladder & Bowel Nurse, Gateshead) speak about the development of the Children’s Rectal Irrigation pathway.


Qufora UK was delighted to facilitate the development of this, led by Davina Richardson (Specialist Children’s Nurse, BBUK) and Michelle. 


This National guideline is now published on the BBUK website – click here to access. 


The room was packed for the Paediatric presentations. I think many in the audience will have found Michelle’s presentation inspiring. She described the history of her passion for rectal irrigation as a treatment. 


How it all began over ten years ago, with a young boy who had Hirschsprung’s disease. Rectal irrigation was introduced as a last resort. It was so successful it prevented him from going on to have a stoma. Michelle recognised the huge potential benefits that irrigation could have on her young patients with bowel dysfunction. Her mission for a national pathway had begun! 


The published pathway has evolved from an original document produced by the Northern Children’s Transanal Irrigation Focus Group, which itself was inspired by the adult version of this. The new pathway has been extensively peer-reviewed and is based on evidence and consensus of best practices. It offers a complete package for using irrigation – from identifying which children could benefit through assessment, teaching and review, including a particularly useful ‘troubleshooting’ review template.  


I spoke to many Paediatric Specialists who visited our Qufora stand afterwards, and the feedback on the pathway was very positive. Many recognised how it would be a valuable resource for all, increasing confidence to use irrigation for those new to the concept and also offering a way to standardise practice and rationalise decision-making for those experienced in using irrigation. 


Michelle’s passion and drive for taking her original idea and bringing it to fruition shone throughout her presentation.  


We caught up with Michelle after her presentation – watch here:

Michelle also talked about how, at her first BBUK conference over ten years ago, she had felt inspired by those presenting. Now, she is herself, standing at the podium, encouraging others to be bold and shape clinical practice for the future.  


Here’s some great advice she gave for those who were visiting the conference for the first time:

Well done to Davina and Michelle on bringing this work all together!