New clinic for inflammatory bowel disease sufferers

More than 1,000 men and women of all ages attended Galway University Hospitals for treatment for inflammatory bowel disease in the past five years.

Now a new clinic at University Hospital Galway will provide focused care to IBD patients in a multidisciplinary environment.

It runs on the second and fourth Thursday of every month and provides consultations, diagnosis, access to investigations, dietary advice and ongoing management of IBD, including access to new drugs in clinical trials. The clinic is staffed by consultant and trainee gastroenterologists, nurses and dieticians.

Professor Laurence Egan, a consultant in clinical pharmacology and gastroenterology at Galway University Hospitals, explains that IBD includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis - both lifelong conditions.

“Patients require ongoing treatment to help manage their condition according to the severity of their illness. In the past five years over 1,000 men and women of all ages have attended GUH for treatment for IBD. In our new IBD clinic we will provide focused care to IBD patients in a multidisciplinary environment.

“Our new clinic will help us to support our patients by providing access to a team of experts in the same location. For example, we have a dietitian who can advise on diet which is important as some patients may not be able to get all the nutrition they need due to poor absorption and other patients may find that certain foods make their symptoms worse.”

He says the hospital is also participating in clinical trials which will benefit patients as new research will lead to improved medication and treatment options.

“In addition we recently organised an IBD study day in Galway which was an opportunity for experts in Ireland and overseas to come together to discuss cases and share knowledge. The study day included keynote talks by two international experts in this area - Professor Laurent Peyrin-Biroulet from the University Hospital of Nancy in France and Professor Victor Fazio from The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio USA.”

He advises people who are concerned about IBD or other similar illnesses to visit their GP for advice. “Your GP will refer you to the hospital for tests and/or treatment if necessary.”

Patients interested in attending the new IBD clinic should ask their GP to send a letter of referral to the IBD clinic at Galway University Hospitals.

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