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Specialist Inflammatory Bowel Disease service created at Harrogate District Hospital

The Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) team at Harrogate District Hospital has expanded with the appointment of two new specialist colleagues to create a new specialist service.

Grace Hamill joins as Clinical Nurse Specialist, while Jemma Hogarth is now in post as IBD Specialist Dietitian. Previously IBD care has been provided solely by gastroenterology consultants.

IBD is the umbrella term for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. It is a lifelong, chronic condition which can affect people physically and mentally.

It is estimated that IBD affects about one person in every 250 in the UK. There are around 146,000 people with ulcerative colitis and 115,000 with Crohn’s disease in the UK. IBD is usually diagnosed in people in their late teens or early 20s, but can affect people of any age. IBD costs the NHS around £900 million per year – lifetime costs are comparable to diabetes or cancer – so it is a condition which needs significant management.

The main symptoms include pain, swelling or cramping in the abdomen, recurring or bloody diarrhoea, weight loss and extreme tiredness.

Grace will be working closely with the gastroenterology consultants, IBD dietitian, colorectal and stoma care services to develop and deliver an excellent service to IBD patients. This will involve providing a supportive link, information, education and empowering patients & families.

Jemma is developing an effective patient-centred IBD service. Her role will involve supporting and empowering patients to manage their IBD condition through dietary therapy, within both the inpatient and outpatient settings.

Grace, who has been an IBD nurse for three years, said:

We’re really pleased to here and we’re really looking forward to developing a dedicated IBD service for patients. IBD can be a debilitating illness which has a significant impact on people’s lives so we’re delighted to be able to offer an enhanced service.

Previously, patients would have been seen by gastroenterology consultants, who have a wider remit. The expanded team means shorting waiting times for patients and we’ll be able to spend more time with them in clinics.

Grace and Jemma are able to see patients already registered in the system at Harrogate District Hospital. New referrals are via a patient’s GP to a gastroenterology consultant then on to the service. Clinics are held on Monday and Wednesday mornings.

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