Flare pathways

Flare pathways

Statement 4.1

Local treatment protocols and clear pathways should be in place for the management of IBD patients experiencing flares and include advice for primary care.

Why is it important?

Almost half of IBD patients have at least one flare a year.

This can have a huge impact on their physical and emotional wellbeing. For the NHS, the major impact is financial – as it’s 2-3 times more expensive to treat a patient with active disease compared to someone in remission.

When someone has a flare, the GP is often their first port of call. But 52% of GPs say they are “less than confident” or “not confident” if an IBD patient comes to their clinic with a flare-up1.

This is why flare pathways are so important. Co-produced by a working group of health professionals and patients as part of the RCGP and Crohn’s & Colitis UK IBD Spotlight Project, and approved by the British Society of Gastroenterology, they give primary care health professionals accessible guidance on steroid intervention, dose escalation, and when to refer to secondary care.

With these pathways, suitable patients can be managed appropriately. This means better shared care and more confidence in responding to flares effectively, including rapid access to advice from the IBD team.

Guidance and further information

The service my hospital provides is pretty much spot on, they take flares seriously and help as much as possible. Scans as soon as the flare is noticed, medication changes to regain control. This depends on the patient’s recognition and letting the medical staff know too. “

Respondent to online survey

1 RCGP and Crohn’s & Colitis UK IBD Spotlight Project GP Survey,www.rcgp.org.uk/ibd