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Bowel Independence Day 2013

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Bowel Independence Day was launched on 3 July with an event at the House of Lords hosted by Baroness Masham.

The day, now in its second year, aims to raise awareness of bowel and bladder illnesses and encourage medical professionals to approach the topic more with their patients.

Speakers included Baroness Masham, Sue Kernahan from Coloplast, Anne McGuire, the shadow minister for disabilities, and Kerry Lloyd and Matt Hampson, who have both suffered from bowel conditions.

Stephen Miles, the chair of the Royal College of Nursing Continence Care Forum Committee, said: ‘The biggest challenge about bowel and bladder problems is raising awareness about them. Every healthcare professional should ask their patients about their bowel movements. It should be part of general training for nurses.'

Martin Beynon from Coloplast said: ‘Bowel and bladder management is an under-publicised area. Nurses should ask their patients questions about their bowel and bladder management, as it is an essential element of care. It is also important to regard each case as individual.'

The attendees of the event included medical professionals, charity representatives and members of parliament.

A recent audit of bowel cancer has found that the number of patients who are admitted to hospital as an emergency is ‘stubbornly high'. Around 22 per cent of patients admitted to hospital for bowel cancer are then diagnosed as emergency cases. The audit also confirms that there is a great difference in survival rates between surgery and non-surgery patients. Surgery patients can live more than two years after diagnosis.

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