The first service standards aimed at improving the healthcare of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) will be launched today (11 February 2009) by the National Association for Colitis and Crohn's disease (NACC) in collaboration with six healthcare professional organisations.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease have a profound impact on the lives of about 240,000 patients and their families in the UK. The distressing symptoms of urgency, diarrhoea, pain, profound fatigue and anaemia often follow unpredictable patterns of disease "flares".
However, with appropriate healthcare provision most patients can sustain economically productive and family support roles.
The new IBD Service Standards follow on from the 2006 National Audit of adult IBD Services and Care, which highlighted "unacceptable variations" both in service provision and organisation of important aspects of clinical care.
Speaking before the launch of the new standards, NACC chief executive Richard Driscoll said: "The new IBD Service Standards will focus more attention, by local health services, onto the quality of their IBD care.
"For example, we need to ensure that when patients are diagnosed they receive the information and support they need to understand and manage their illness better, hopefully enabling them to get back to a near normal family and working life. Overall, we recommend that IBD Services should be meeting these new standards by September 2010."
The Service Standards will be made widely available to NHS managers and commissioning organisations throughout the UK.