Please be aware, the information on this page relates to Bedford Hospital

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Service

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Service

Welcome to the IBD service which you may need to access after a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease (IBD).

The IBD service is part of the Gastroenterology Department which specialises in intestinal disorders. The IBD team includes Consultant Gastroenterologists, Surgeons, IBD Nurse Specialists, Dietitians, Endoscopists, Pharmacists, Radiologists and the Day Treatment Unit staff.

You will be assigned to a Consultant Gastroenterologist who is responsible for making decisions with you about your care and the appropriate treatment options. You may also be referred to other colleagues in the team for treatment, advice and support.

The IBD Nurse Specialists (CNS)

The nurse service includes providing advice during a flare up of your disease, assessing and prescribing treatment, monitoring medications and blood results, and providing advice to inpatients.

The nurses can be contacted on the IBD Nurse Advice Line on 01234 355122 ext 6204, Monday to Friday, 9am to 2pm. Please note, it is an answer machine service and not an emergency line and is not available at weekends / bank holidays.

Please leave a brief message with your full name, date of birth and, if possible, your hospital number. Please do not leave more than one message as the nurses will endeavour to return your call as soon as they are able.

Your General Practitioner

Your GP is responsible for co-ordinating your general IBD care. They are kept informed of treatment plans, investigations and results and are written to after a clinic appointment or hospital stay. They are responsible for prescribing your medications, with a few exceptions, and also for blood test monitoring for some treatments (you will be advised if this is the case).

What to do when you are experiencing a flare

IBD typically goes through periods of remission (when you feel well) or relapse of symptoms (flares). Flare symptoms can include increased frequency in bowel movements and/or diarrhoea, sometimes with blood or mucus. Many people will have an understanding of their own flare strategy, however, if you are symptomatic and concerned, you should contact the IBD specialist nurses on the Advice Line. If you require medical attention out of the IBD nurse advice line opening hours (Mon-Fri 9am-2pm) you should call your GP, NHS 111 or attend A&E.

IBD Multi-Disciplinary Team Meetings (IBD MDT)

Your case may be reviewed at an IBD MDT which is a regular team meeting involving input from a wide range of specialists (surgeons, gastroenterologists, dietitians and radiologists). Once your case has been discussed you will be updated with any investigations or modifications to your treatment.

Outpatient Follow Up

You will have regular `follow up’ appointments either with a doctor or a CNS face to face, virtually or by telephone. If you are unable to attend please contact Outpatient Appointments on 01234 730404 or 01234 355122 ext 2400.

Tests and Results

It is not necessary for you to inform the nurses that you have had a blood or stool test unless they have requested that you do so. The nurses review all results and do not routinely inform you if there are no concerns.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are at Gilbert Hitchcock House (North Wing) and appointments need to be booked in advance at, Telephone 01234 607075 or Phlebotomy Reception on 01234 792160. Blood tests requested by the IBD Service can be done at Bedford Hospital Main Outpatients, Reception B Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) from 9am to 4pm without an appointment.

Inpatient Admissions

You may be admitted for treatment and review of your disease on the Shuttleworth gastroenterology ward, however, if you are admitted elsewhere you will still be reviewed by the Gastroenterology Team.


Following your diagnosis you may also be asked to participate in IBD research projects or trials within the hospital.