As part of our ongoing work to lobby and influence decision-makers in Scotland, a Members’ Business debate was held in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 20 March.
In January 2019, a motion was lodged by Pauline McNeill, MSP for Glasgow Region (Labour) who is Convener of the Cross Party Group on Inflammatory Bowel Disease to highlight the prevalence of Crohn's and Colitis in Scotland.
Following the motion, Crohn’s & Colitis UK and the Cross Party Group on IBD held an exhibition stand in the Scottish Parliament from 26-28 February.
There was great engagement and interest from MSPs of all parties including the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeanne Freeman. MSPs were asked for their support to write to local Health Boards about the quality of their services for people with Crohn’s and Colitis.
Crohn’s & Colitis UK provided a full briefing for MSPs covering key issues including:
- The prevalence of Crohn and Colitis in Scotland and the big increase in children diagnosed with the conditions
- The need for more IBD Specialist Nurses
- Issues affecting children’s and adult IBD services
- Crohn’s & Colitis UK’s work with the Scottish Government
Pauline McNeill MSP opened by giving an overview of the prevalence of Crohn's and Colitis in Scotland and the work we are currently carrying out. She talked about what is needed from health services for people with Crohn’s or Colitis and what more the Scottish government need to do to help.
We also heard from MSPs Clare Adamson, Miles Briggs, Monica Lennon, Alison Johnstone, Liam McArthur, Willie Coffey and Brian Whittle. They discussed a variety of topics relating to Crohn’s and Colitis, including our National Blueprint, our Not Every Disability is Visible Campaign and the work of the Cross Party Group, which Crohn’s & Colitis UK supports.
The MSPs recounted stories of people in their constituents they had spoken with, who had informed them of difficulties they face living with Crohn’s and Colitis, such as discrimination at work.
In his final remarks, Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing spoke further about the exciting work we are collaborating on with the Scottish Government's Modern Out Patient Programme.
This includes our partnership through the Small Business Research Initiative to identify methods to support self-management of Crohn’s and Colitis through a mobile app, and the co-design of a nationally approved NHS Scotland branded flare-card, and personalised care plan.
It was a highly informative debate, raising awareness of Crohn’s and Colitis in Scotland, highlighting the work we are carrying out and what more is still to be done.