House of Commons presentation to MPs on the diagnosis of urinary tract infections

In July this year, Catherine West MP (Hornsey & Wood Green) organised a presentation by Professor Malone-Lee at Portcullis House regarding the diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infections. Professor Malone-Lee heads the Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Clinic at the Whittington Hospital in North London.

He spoke on the problems surrounding the standard diagnosis of chronic urinary tract infections with particular emphasis on the failures of the standard urine testing. At the presentation it was agreed that the issue required further examination and that Catherine West would apply for an Adjournment Debate.

The Adjournment Debate was held on Friday 28 October 2016.

Urinary Tract Infections are one of the most common bacterial infections with over 150 million people worldwide affected by a UTI each year. This predominantly affects women, but children and men also suffer. 33% of women will get a urinary tract infection before they are 24, with 1 in 10 girls and 1 in 30 boys having a UTI by the age of 16.

Of these 20% to 30% of patients prescribed antibiotics will fail treatment, and a sizeable number will go on to have recurrent infections throughout their life. However, the failures in the standard test mean that there are thousands of people in the UK who are told by their doctors that they are not ill because tests do not indicate disease.

It is estimated by the Cystitis and Overactive Bladder Foundation that the condition affects around 400,000 people in the UK, who will continue to suffer unless the health service revises the current methods of testing and treatment, which are wholly inadequate for this condition.

There are well researched reasons why these methods fail, and the forthcoming debate will be an opportunity to discuss this. The debate will focus mainly on the shortcomings of the standard urinary tests; the inadequacy of the basic tools to inform doctors; and the potential ramifications of misdiagnosis for thousands of sufferers.