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Specialist IBD nurses needed to keep people in work

Specialist IBD nurses provide invaluable support for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBD) to stay at work, states a report by The Work Foundation.

Specialist IBD nurses provide valuable support for people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in work, states a report by The Work Foundation.

Working Well – Promoting job and career opportunities for those with IBD collected interviews with employers and employees, across the country to find ways that people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis can feel confident about managing their conditions during work.

Specialist nurses were recognised as being one of the main sources of support for patients due to their 'unique understanding of the way that IBD impacts on aspects of life'.

The advice the nurses provided ranged from providing information and support on initial diagnosis, providing other sources of support, and discussing treatment options. One participant responded that 'getting the support from the specialist nurse is the most fantastic thing I have done [and that] it provides an invaluable bridge between the actual patient and the consultant.'

In a UK-wide audit of IBD services 14 per cent still don't provide IBD nursing for their patients and many others fell short of the recommended minimum level set out in the IBD standards.

The report recommends expanding the number of specialist nurses.

Helen Terry, director of policy, public affairs and research at Crohn's and Colitis UK, said: 'IBD nurse specialists play a pivotal role in the delivery of high-quality care and improving the quality of life of their patients. Our recent survey found that those patients who had support from an IBD nurse were more than twice as likely to be "very satisfied" with their care.'

IBD affects one person in every 250 in the UK and is thought to cost the economy around £300 million a year.