However, this is currently not the case. Because of these variations in care, Crohn’s & Colitis UK helped form IBD UK, a partnership of 17 patient and professional organisations, including the British Society of Gastroenterology,the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Physicians.
Together, working with people living with Crohn’s and Colitis, IBD UK have developed the IBD Standards, a framework of statements that set out what high-quality care looks like at every point of the patient journey, from pre-diagnosis, to surgery and ongoing care, as well as how the IBD Service should be organised to deliver this.
The first IBD Standards were created in 2009, following on from the first audit of IBD Services in 2006 by the Royal College of Physicians which highlighted large variations in standards of care. They were then updated in 2013 and now underpin the 2015 NICE quality standard on IBD.
For the first time, IBD services will be assessed against the statements, through both an IBD Benchmarking Tool and IBD Patient Survey. People living with the conditions will be able to say anonymously what their IBD service is doing well and things they could do better.
Take a look at the IBD UK website, where you’ll be able to see the full list of IBD Standards, read blogs from healthcare professionals and people living with the conditions and find out more about the IBD Patient Survey…
Is care improving?
The IBD Standards have led to some important improvements since they were launched, including an increase in the number of IBD Nurse Specialists, improved dietetic services, greater provision of specialist transition support for young people moving to adult services, and more multidisciplinary team working.
However, there is still much to be done and there are key challenges both IBD services and people living with the conditions face. There is a lack of psychological support, and a need for more coordinated care and faster response when people have a flare up.
There is still a way to go – but the IBD Standards are producing tangible improvements in the care of people with Crohn’s and Colitis. The weight and authority of the 17 organisations in IBD UK working together will create a significant impact and influence decision making.
The hope is that the results from the IBD Benchmarking Tool and IBD Patient Survey will provide us with the data to transform IBD care. We’re determined to keep making things better.