UEG press release

United European Gastroenterology (UEG) calls for more specialist clinics to improve emotional and mental wellbeing of young people with inflammatory bowel disease

August 28, 2014

UEG calls for more specialist clinics to improve emotional and mental wellbeing of young people with IBD.

(August, 28, 2014) In response to a new study highlighting the impact of IBD on children, United European Gastroenterology (UEG), Europe’s largest digestive health body, is calling for an increase in specialist IBD Clinics across Europe to quicken diagnosis times and improve treatment, helping to reduce the psychosocial impact IBD has on children and young people.

The Impact of IBD Study1 recently published in the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, reveals that almost a quarter of IBD sufferers feel they don’t have adequate access to a specialist and, as many as, 76% believed greater access to a specialist gastroenterologist would help improve IBD healthcare.

The study also reports alarming delays in diagnosis, with 17% of under 18’s left waiting more than 5 years before receiving a final diagnosis, which can further impact on the patients’ mental wellbeing. 64% of patients needed emergency care before their diagnosis and 46% of patients were hospitalised for an average of 24 days, adding to the emotional stress of having IBD.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a life-long condition that causes inflammation in the intestine and is increasing in children with 30% of all IBD patients presenting with symptoms between the ages of 10 and 19.3  The two most common inflammatory bowel diseases are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, affecting around 70 in every 100,000 children2.

Children with IBD are frequently considered emotionally vulnerable with some children found to have behaviour problems, psychiatric disorders, depression and diminished social competence. IBD can also cause delayed growth and development which increases the distress many children experience.

UEG call for greater access to specialist gastroenterologists and clinics, particularly for children with IBD to help speed up diagnosis times and offer psycho-social support as part of the treatment plan.

Dr Charles Murray, Consultant Gastroenterologist and UEG spokesperson, says, “It’s vital that children and young adults with IBD receive a quick diagnosis so that a treatment plan including psychosocial support can be put in place as soon as possible. Increased access to specialist gastroenterologists and clinics is essential to help these young people manage their condition successfully, enabling them to continue in education and work and significantly improve their quality of life and mental wellbeing.”


1.     EFCCA Impact of IBD Study 2010-2011. Published J Crohns and Colitis. 2014 March 21

2.    Kappelman MD, Rifas-Shiman SL, Kleinman K et al. The prevalence and geographic distribution of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis in the United States. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2007; 5:1424–9.

3.    Problems in the diagnosis of IBD in children. H.A  Buller. Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam – The Netherlands Journal of Medicine.

4.    The Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Young People - The impact on education and employment report - downloadable from the www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk

5.    Szigethy E, McLafferty L, Goyal A. Inflammatory bowel disease. Pediatr Clin North Am 2011; 58: 903-20.

6.    Minderhoud IM, Oldenburg B, van Dam PS, van Berge Henegouwen GP. High prevalence of fatigue in quiescent inflammatory bowel disease is not related to adrenocortical insufficiency. Am J Gastroenterol 2003 May: 98 (5): 1088-93.

Notes to Editors

About UEG

UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. Find out more about UEG’s work. Visit www.ueg.eu

*EFCCA (European Federation of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Associations) Impact of IBD Study

The IMPACT study was commissed in 2010-2011 by EFCCA and involved over 5000 people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease), in 27 European countries.

To find out more about EFCCA and the Impact Study visit: http://www.efcca.org/

To arrange a press interview with Dr Charles Murray, UEG Spokesperson and Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist at The Royal Free Hospital, please contact Samantha Forster, details below.

Press contacts  

Samantha Forster: samantha@spinkhealth.com

Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099

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