A proposal to improve support for people in Lancashire with Crohn’s and Colitis and other bowel and urinary conditions has been agreed by county councillors.
The notice of motion was put forward for consideration to the full council at its meeting on Thursday 23 May.
Crohn’s Disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system or gut. Colitis (also known as ulcerative Colitis) is a condition that causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the rectum and colon, which amongst other symptoms results in painful and uncontrollable diarrhoea and passing of blood.
Around 300,000 people across the country are thought to have these conditions, but the real number could be double this.
Councillors voted in favour of the proposal and the county council will now work with national charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK to:
• Create a better understanding of Crohn’s and Colitis, its symptoms and the support needed
• Improve public and private toilet access
• Ensure the county council leads by example in its employment practices
• Develop a pledge together with public and private sector organisations to increase recognition of the ‘Can’t Wait’ card programme, encourage them to share their toilets and provide better information about toilet facilities
County Councillor Andrew Snowden, who put the proposal forward for the council to discuss, said: “I want to raise awareness of Crohn’s and Colitis and improve support for people living with these conditions, having witnessed first-hand the physical and emotional suffering they can cause.
“Inflammatory bowel disorders like these are incredibly painful, exhausting and stressful. They cause a lot of suffering and for many, they also have life-threatening and life-changing consequences.
“Yet, on the whole, awareness of the severity and reality of life for those with Crohn’s and Colitis is low, leading to embarrassment and stress for those affected.
“Issues such as access to toilets have not always been seen as a public health issue. This has to change.
“People with these conditions – even though they may appear physically fit – need urgent access to public, staff and disabled toilets in order to enable them to go about everyday life.
“I’m very pleased that my fellow councillors have supported the proposal. We can now work with Crohn’s and Colitis UK and other organisations to make Lancashire a national example of how to support people with these conditions.”
County Councillor Shaun Turner, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Thank you to County Councillor Snowden for bringing this important issue to our attention.
“Measures such as working with our partners to improve toilet access and raising awareness of how Crohn’s and Colitis affect people will make a huge difference.
“We will now look in more detail at how we can help support our staff and the people of Lancashire whose lives are affected by these conditions.”
Crohn’s and Colitis UK leads campaigns such as the ‘Not every disability is visible’ scheme and the ‘Can’t Wait card’ campaign.
Andy McGuinness, Campaigns Manager at Crohn’s & Colitis UK, said: “We’re delighted that Councillor Snowden has put forward a proposal to the council to raise awareness of Crohn’s and Colitis and promote the charity’s Can’t Wait Card, which helps many people in a desperate situation.
“Lancashire County Council are leading by example in supporting people living with these debilitating conditions and we are looking forward to working together on this important and impactful issue.”
For more information, see agenda item 9 of the following link council.lancashire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=138&MId=7477
Crohn’s & Colitis UK is the UK’s leading charity, for everyone affected by Crohn’s and Colitis. They’re working to improve diagnosis and treatment, and to fund research into a cure; to raise awareness and to give people hope, comfort and confidence to live freer, fuller lives – www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk