Doctors are calling for a national strategy for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) so that it receives the same attention as other chronic conditions such as diabetes.
The appeal follows publication of the latest UK IBD audit carried out by the Royal College of Physicians and commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership — a consortium that promotes the use and results of clinical audit to improve the quality of health services.
The latest audit, covering the period from 2012 to 2014, found that IBD services varied. Around 86% of gastroenterology sites had specialist IBD nurses, up from 56% when the first UK audit of IBD services was carried out between 2006 and 2008. But only 37% of audited sites met the IBD standard of 1.5 whole time equivalent specialist nurses.
Although the number of IBD multidisciplinary team meetings increased from 75% in 2010-2012 to 91% in 2012-2014, only 40% met the preferred IBD standard by occurring every fortnight and involving medical, nursing and surgery staff.
Commenting on the audit, Anja St Clair Jones, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s spokeswoman for gastrointestinal medicine, highlights that there has been a modest improvement, with 59% of IBD multi-disciplinary teams (MDT) having a named pharmacist. “But only 16% of MDT meetings are attended by a pharmacist,” she adds.