Mon, 17 May 2021

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By Professor Martin Green
By Barry Horne
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Govt 'must do more to help IBD sufferers' says new report

Govt 'must do more to help IBD sufferers' says new report

The Work Foundation

2 min read Partner content

The Government needs to reform its services to accommodate IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) sufferers, according to a new report.

Lancaster University’s Work Foundationhas called for programmes such as Access to Work and Fit for Work to address the specific needs of people with the condition – which affects around 300,000 people in the UK and costs the economy around £470m each year.

The report also recommends increasing the number of specialist nurses dedicated to the treatment of IBD in order to enable sufferers to stay in work.

Despite the essential work that has already been done to improve understanding of IBD by charities such as Crohn’s and Colitis UK, the report states, employers still need more information to improve communication with staff over the condition.

Researcher at the The Work FoundationDr Zofia Bajorek said: “Individuals with IBD will do anything they can to work in their chosen career.

“However, our evidence suggests various factors, including individual constraints, healthcare related support and organisational management structures remain as barriers to employment.”

Dr Bajorek goes on to call for “joined-up working from relevant stakeholders ensuring positive employment relationships, supportive organisational cultures, improved diagnosis and awareness of IBD and the appropriate information provided to employees and employers as to how IBD is managed in the workplace must be improved so that individuals with IBD can enter, remain and ensure productivity in the workplace.”

Director of policy, public affairs and research at Crohn's and Colitis UK Helen Terryechoed the demand for more specialist nurses, saying they “play a pivotal role in the delivery of high-quality care and improving quality of life for their patients…”

“It is regrettable, therefore, that the latest UK-wide audit of IBD services found that 14% still provide no IBD nursing for their patients and many others fall short of the recommended minimum level set out in the IBD Standards.

“The expertise specialist nurses offer to patients is based on their unique understanding of the way in which IBD impacts on all aspects of life, including the importance of work and access to employment opportunities. We cannot emphasis enough the value that patients place on this support,” she added.