Kirsty Williams AM attended an event in the National Assembly for Wales to mark World IBD Day and raise awareness of the condition.
Among those present was Amber Davies, a student from Builth Wells who has ulcerative colitis and has been an active campaigner and fundraiser. She lives with a permanent stoma as a result of ulcerative colitis.
The event, organised by Crohn’s and Colitis UK, took place on Wednesday 15th May ahead of World IBD Day on Sunday 19th May. It was attended by people including those with the condition, surgeons, nurses, gastroenterologists, and GPs.
The theme of World IBD Day 2019 is ‘Making the Invisible Visible’. Crohn’s and Colitis UK marked the day by launching their ‘It takes guts to talk about Crohn’s and Colitis’ campaign. Both initiatives seek to encourage people to talk about what is often described as an invisible illness. This is to help reduce the stigma that people often feel, and to facilitate discussion as to how services can be improved.
Amber Davies commented:
“Days like these are extremely important in raising a profile for these often hidden illness. I myself have experienced conflict in the general public first hand due to not always complying with people’s perceptions of disability - something that can prove extremely difficult when you’re desperately in need of help.
“Patient involvement is significantly important in demonstrating this to those policy makers so that we can begin making a difference to all of those within the circle of IBD whether these be patients, staff, families so that all of those affected have access to the adequate resources they need.”
Kirsty Williams said:
“World IBD Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the condition and break down some of the stigma that exists. People shouldn’t suffer in silence and I hope World IBD Day leads to more people getting the support they need.
“New standards for care are being developed and I will be contacting the local health board about the provision of services locally.”
Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and Crohn’s and Colitis UK estimate that around 1 in every 210 people in Wales have IBD (around 15,000 people in total).
Information about World IBD Day can be found here: https://worldibdday.org/world-ibd-day-events
Information about ‘Making the Invisible Visible’ can be found here: https://worldibdday.org/news/making-the-invisible-visible
Information about ‘It Takes Guts to talk about Crohn’s and Colitis’ can be found here: https://www.ittakesguts.org.uk/