Scotland Leading The Way

In Scotland, as in the rest of the UK, we’re working to help everyone affected by Crohn’s and Colitis.  Scotland has the highest rates of Crohn’s & Colitis in the UK and rates in young people in Scotland have soared in recent decades.

Much of our current work in Scotland is driven by Scotland Leading the Way: A National Blueprint for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The National Blueprint is the first of its kind in the UK and is designed to ensure that people living Crohn’s and Colitis in Scotland receive fair, timely and appropriate care in line with the IBD Standards.

The Cross-Party Group on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) 

The Cross-Party Group on IBD, is chaired by Pauline McNeill MSP and supported by Crohn’s & Colitis UK. It includes Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), healthcare professionals, policy makers and people affected by Crohn’s and Colitis. The group provides focus and momentum for service improvement work with the support of the Scottish Government and the Scottish IBD community. It opens doors to decision makers by: 

  • Raising awareness of the issues faced by people living with Crohn’s and Colitis and the impact of the condition on their lives among politicians. 
  • Raising awareness of the high incidence of the conditions in Scotland and the increasing incidence of childhood IBD.
  • Promoting and monitoring implementation of the Blueprint.
  • Strengthening support from local and national policymakers.
  • Sharing and disseminating best practice. 

Cross-Party Group meetings have been held since it was launched in February 2017 covering service redesign, data and technology, children and young people’s services, self -management, psychological support and IBD nursing. 

You can read more about the Cross-Party Group on IBD in a blog by Pauline Mc Neill MSP and in this news item celebrating the first year of the group.

Scottish IBD Nurses Network 

Crohn’s & Colitis UK supports and develops the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scottish IBD Nurses Network. 

The Network aims to work with nurses to achieve better outcomes for people living with Crohn’s and Colitis, by sharing practice and collaborating on service improvement initiatives. It maintains and strengthens the links between healthcare professionals and patient groups.  

The RCN Scottish IBD Nurses Network is producing consensus statements to guide IBD services on setting up and developing IBD telephone advice lines and multi-disciplinary teams. These pieces of work are drawn from the recommendations of the Blueprint. The Network is also looking at developing a working group on shadowing and mentoring for nurses new to these conditions.

Improving services with new models of care 

We believe learning from the Blueprint can be put in place across every NHS Health Board in Scotland to result in improved, fair and more sustainable services aimed at: 

  • Reducing outpatient appointments 
  • Reducing emergency hospital admissions 
  • Improving patient safety 
  • Enabling cost effective management of Crohn’s and Colitis.  

This work is aligned to the health policy agenda in Scotland. Crohn’s & Colitis UK is working closely with the Scottish Government’s Modern Outpatient Programme which aims to ensure patients see the right person in the right place at the right time. This often means it would be better for someone to see a health professional in the community rather than in hospital. 

As well as working with a group of patients, health care professionals and others to co-produce self -management tools through the Modern Outpatient Programme, we are also supporting a new service redesign project in NHS Borders.  

In the Borders, a steering group of Crohn’s and Colitis patients, healthcare professionals, Health Board management and others have developed a proposal for a new Community Based IBD Nurse Service. This service is likely to take shape over the coming months. Key benefits of such a service would be: 

  • People get access to follow up when they need it at a community hub near their home 
  • Patients as partners (empowered and involved with decision making) 
  • Specialists are freed up to deal with more complex cases  
  • Better collaboration with GPs. 

Our work to improve health services in Scotland is not only vital for everyone living with the conditions in Scotland but is also helping to lead the way by sharing learning with other parts of the UK.


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