A NEW advocacy group has been set up called Gutsy Kids to try to improve services for over 450 children who suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
This includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, which causes inflammation in the digestive tract. Inflammatory bowel disease symptoms include abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhoea and fever. Other symptoms include weight loss.
It should not be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which is a completely separate condition, but which shares some symptoms with IBD.
The cause or causes have not yet been identified in the illness. Both genetic factors and environmental triggers are likely to be involved
The Gutsy Kids group is calling for more investment to help treat the disease including:
• Additional IBD nurses in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin. It has only one part-time nurse available for 3 days a week to field calls and oversee communication with parents.
• Increased access to theatre slots in Crumlin for children with IBD requiring urgent endoscopy and other procedures.
• A dedicated IBD children's ward in Crumlin with en-suite toilet facilities for inpatients suffering with disease flare-ups.
Seamus Hussey, a consultant paediatric gastroenterologist at Crumlin, said one in five of all new cases of IBD are diagnosed in children and teenagers.
He said a 2012 study found a substantial and sustained increase in the number of new cases of childhood IBD in Ireland over the last five years.
"Ireland has one of the highest rates of childhood crohn's and colitis in Europe, with a 90pc increase in cases of childhood IBD in the last ten years alone. For more information from Rachel – phone 087 7830159.