Tuesday 18 June 2019

You can sign the online petition to double up nurses

Irish Society for Colitis and Crohns Disease (ISCC)
Irish Society for Colitis and Crohns Disease (ISCC)

John Manning

People in Fingal living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) have been urged to contact Government TDs in their constituency to remind them of the urgent need to double the number of specialist IBD nurses, in line with international best practice.

The call was made by the Irish Society for Colitis and Crohn's Disease (ISCC) after no additional IBD nurses were hired, despite Minister Harris saying he could see no reason why the doubling of specialist IBD nurses from 14 to 28 could not be accommodated as part of the recruitment drive for advanced nurse practitioners.

Approximately 40,000 people across the country have IBD, most of whom are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 30. Furthermore, paediatric cases of IBD have increased three-fold in Ireland since 2000.

Despite the prevalence of the condition, Irish research shows that 45% of hospitals across the country have no specialist nurse to treat these IBD patients.

According to the ISCC, six months or more than 182 days ago, on 16th November 2017, Minister Harris met with a delegation from the ISCC and received a petition, containing over 3,600 signatures, supporting the ISCC's #DoubleUp campaign that aims to double the number of specialist IBD nurses in Ireland.

o highlight the days since the meeting with the Minister, the ISCC has launched a clock on its website which is counting upwards from the 16th November 2017. The clock will remain live until the 14 additional IBD nurses are in place.

Dr. Glen Doherty, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Physician, St Vincent University Hospital who attended the meeting with the Minister last November said: 'I would ask the Minister for Health to, at a minimum, double the number of Specialist Crohn's and Colitis nurses in Ireland, as currently access to nursing care is not the same for everyone. The role these nurses play in IBD patients' lives is incredibly powerful -  providing care and specialist advice on treatment and on living with inflammatory bowel disease day-to-day.

'The care of these nurses is literally a lifeline for patients, keeping them out of our overcrowded (and under toileted) Emergency Departments when their disease flares.

'We owe it to the rapidly growing number of patients with Crohn's and Colitis in Ireland to deliver better care through an immediate increase in specialist nurses and advanced nurse practitioners. Every patient with Crohn's or Colitis in Ireland deserves to have access to the care of a specialist nurse.' 

Bruno Lucas, Chair of the ISCC said, 'We hope people living with IBD in Fingal will help us get the message to Government TDs that we want to see action taken on this matter.' The petition is at

Fingal Independent