Wherever they are treated in the UK, people with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis should receive consistent, high quality care. The basis of much of our work to improve health services is the IBD Standards.
The first audit of IBD services in 2006 highlighted large variation in standards of care. We realised there was a need for authoritative published standards that would define what a good IBD service should look like and provide a benchmark for healthcare professionals.
Working with a range of organisations, including the British Society of Gastroenterology, the Royal College of Nursing and the British Dietetic Association, we jointly developed the Standards for The Healthcare of People Who Have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD Standards), published in 2009 and updated in 2013.
The IBD Standards now underpin a NICE quality standard for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, published in February 2015.
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Is care improving?
The UK Inflammatory Bowel Disease Audit (IBD Audit), delivered by the Royal College of Physicians Clinical Effectiveness Unit, is a benchmarking tool used to improve healthcare for people with Crohn's and Colitis across the UK.
Successive audits have shown a clear improvement in some important aspects of provision and care, such as specialist IBD nurses, dedicated gastroenterology wards and prescription of bone protection medication for those on steroids.
By highlighting these aspects of service provision, organisation and care in national audit, we have drawn attention to the need for improvement and provided the evidence for action.
However, data from the audit also shows a lack of psychological and dietetic support and a need for more coordinated care and faster response when people have a flare up.
There is still a way to go – but the the IBD Standards and IBD Audit are producing tangible improvements in the care of people with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. We’re determined to keep making things better.