Variation in care for people with Crohn’s and Colitis in England was the focus of questions in the House of Lords on Thursday 15th April.
Lord Hunt led the questioning, asking whether a national clinical director for IBD would be appointed to spearhead a drive to implement the IBD Standards.
The Health Minister, Lord Bethell committed to NHS England working with Crohn’s & Colitis UK on waiting times for diagnosis, personalised care, access to specialist treatment and formal and structured education. He said he would look into the possibility of a national leader to oversee this work but stopped short of committing to this.
Baroness Young, who is chairing the launch of the IBD UK report Crohn’s and Colitis in the UK: The Hidden Cost and a Vision for Change on 27th April, referred to her experience of living with Ulcerative Colitis. She highlighted that access to IBD nurse specialists varies across England and asked the Minister to commit to endorsing the IBD Standards and ensuring that all services were commissioned to meet these standards across the country. She and Baroness Brinton highlighted the fact that IBD Standards have been in place for a number of years and said that “Half a million patients are fed up of waiting.”
Baroness Masham called for a campaign to support early diagnosis of IBD. The Minister agreed that “diagnosis is absolutely key to the accurate and prompt treatment of IBD” and said that they are working with GPs to improve this.
Baroness Wheeler highlighted the impact of Covid-19 on people with Crohn’s and Colitis, including difficulties accessing care and having to shield while waiting for second doses of vaccination.
We’ll be writing to the Minister to seek a meeting to discuss some of the issues raised in the debate.