Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today supported calls to raise awareness around Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
Ms de Brún made her comments during 'Colitis and Crohn's Week' which began on Saturday 17 June and runs through until Sunday 25 June. She is backing the National Association for Colitis and Crohn's Disease (NACC) campaign for sufferers to have use of toilet facilities in public buildings, particularly staff toilets which are not readily accessible to the public.
Speaking today the former Assembly Health Minister said:
"Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) affects approximately one in every four hundred people. In particular, Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease are chronic conditions which cause severe abdominal pain, tiredness and can flare up at any time. Research suggests that the condition is genetic and environmental triggers are also likely to be involved.
"I want to back the calls made by the NACC for a greater public awareness of these conditions, which can often be embarrassing for the sufferer. The 'Can't Wait' Card Campaign is designed to inform staff, shopkeepers and others, that the sufferer requires urgent use of toilet facilities.
"Recent cases have been highlighted in the media, where sufferers have found themselves in a situation where they require immediate use of toilet facilities but have been turned down, either because the facilities are not for public use or the facilities are out of order. I would urge employers, shopkeepers and those who administer such facilities, to ensure that their premises are readily available to the card carrier.
"Greater awareness of this disease can help ease the suffering of those people with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. There is a need for specialist nursing for those people affected by IBD. Access to a specialist Nurse would offer a huge assistance to sufferers, who can readily identify problems, make emergency appointments and assess if a patients condition is worsening." ENDS