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World IBD Day – Tuesday 19th May 2020

Today is World IBD Day when we help to raise awareness about Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

IBD is a term used to describe disorders that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These are long term conditions that can lead to serious complications and impact on everyday life.

Many people living with IBD experience debilitating pain and anxiety. Symptoms often include severe abdominal pain and cramp, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea and an urgency to use the toilet. The condition may have led to them having surgery where a permanent or temporary colostomy bag or stoma bag is fitted.

IBD is a hidden or unseen disability and unfortunately many people living with the condition find they are still challenged by the general public, other disabled people and security staff/stewards when using an accessible toilet. In a recent Colostomy UK survey 30% of respondents stated they had experienced problems of this nature.

An increasing number of sports venues and other public places now display signs stating “Not All Disabilities Are Visible” which is helping the situation as a reminder that not all disabled people are wheelchair users. Some venues have gone further by joining the “Stoma Friendly” campaign that encourages organisations to display suitable signage to accessible toilets to reduce discrimination and improve facilities and awareness.

Ruth Hopkins, General Manager said:

“We are pleased to support Crohn’s and Colitis UK in raising awareness on World IBD Day. Level Playing Field Access Audit reports always recommend consideration is given to people with hidden disabilities and staff are trained to ensure a better understanding and avoid anxiety and embarrassment.

It is important that people living with IBD have access to appropriate toilet facilities where they may require additional space, clothes hooks and a shelf, not provided in a standard cubicle”