It is just over a year since the Cross Party Group on IBD was launched in the Scottish Parliament, with the first AGM held on 21st February 2018.
The group includes Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) from all the major parties, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Health Care Professionals, policy makers and patients.
There is currently no other group in The Scottish Parliament looking at the issues faced by people with Crohn’s and Colitis, which affect at least one in 210 people across the UK, and possibly more in Scotland.
The Cross Party Group provides a focus and drive for service improvement in Scotland with the support of the Scottish Government and key members of the IBD community. At each meeting, members identify one or more key ‘asks’ or parliamentary activities – such as writing letters to decision makers or seeking meetings with Ministers.
The Scottish Government’s vision is for people living with IBD in Scotland to receive equitable, timely and appropriate care thereby improving their health and ability to participate in education, work, social and family life. The Scottish Government is pleased to have supported and part-funded Crohn’s and Colitis UK in the production of 'Scotland Leading the Way- A National Blueprint for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Scotland'.
The main aims of the 'Scotland Leading the Way' Blueprint include improving patient access to advice and information as well as continuing to develop responsive specialist IBD services.
Scotland is the only UK country doing this on behalf of this group of patients in this way.
Crohn's and Colitis UK have supported MSPs and key members of the IBD community including a cross section of professionals, patients and colleagues, to establish a Cross Party Group. As well as promoting and monitoring the implementation of the Blueprint, the group is an important vehicle for raising awareness of these conditions which affect 26,000 Scots.
Since the inaugural meeting in February 2017, there have been a further three meetings covering:
- Service redesign, opening dialogue with Health Board Chief Executives, the use of data and e-health technologies;
- Children and young people, the high incidence of IBD in Scotland and the need for age appropriate services;
- Self-management and psychological support.
This year’s work plan includes:
- IBD Specialist Nursing and the vital role of IBD Nurses;
- Revisiting service redesign and the use of e-health technologies in IBD services;
- Awareness raising activities around Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week in December.
In an opinion piece for the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, the group’s Convener, Pauline McNeill MSP reflects on her first year of chairing the group, why improving IBD services is so important to her and the profound impact hearing directly from people living with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis has had upon her.
Any members of the public or health care professionals can attend meetings of the Cross Party Group on IBD and contribute to its work. If you would like more information, please contact Nancy Greig at: firstname.lastname@example.org.