Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agrees to meet Stoneyburn FC manager after health talks in the House of Commons
Sunak was asked about raising awareness of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease by the Livingston MP Hannah Bardell during Prime Minister’s Questions. Bardell explained that such debilitating health conditions affect her family as well as Sharp, coach of the West Lothian side nicknamed ‘The Fulshie’.
The illnesses cause severe bowel and stomach issues and hinder thousands of people across the United Kingdom. Sunak said he is aware of them and agreed to talks with Bardell and Sharp.
Bardell addressed the House, saying: “When my wee brother was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis eight years ago, it turned our worlds upside down. I'm incredibly proud of the man he is and all that he's achieved whilst living with this life-limiting condition.
“My Livingston constituent Steven Sharp manages local football team The Fulshie in Stoneyburn. He has Crohn’s disease & lives with a stoma. He is like many of our constituents up and down the UK – living with a life-limiting condition, trying to provide for their families whilst holding down jobs with a disease that wreaks havoc on their bodies.
“Given one in four people wait over a year for diagnosis, will the Prime Minister and the House support the awareness campaign, ‘Cut the Crap: Get Checked,’ and meet with Steven and I to discuss what more can be done on awareness, research and funding?”
Sunak replied: “Can I pay tribute to [Bardell’s] brother and also Steven for everything they are doing to raise awareness of this issue. I’d be very happy to meet with her and Steven. It’s something I am familiar with and it is a very difficult condition for people to live with. It is right that they get the support and attention they deserve. I look forward to that discussion.”
The Crohn’s and Colitis UK charity launched the ‘Cut the Crap’ campaign to make people aware of the symptoms and consequences of these conditions. They are hopeful that Bardell raising the matter in the House of Commons can lead to greater publicity.
Sarah Sleet, Crohn’s & Colitis UK’s chief executive, explained some of the issues people are suffering with. She said: “More than a quarter of people wait over a year for a diagnosis of Crohn’s or Colitis. During this time, nearly half end up in A&E at least once, because of symptoms like debilitating stomach pain or frequent, bloody diarrhoea.
“The warning signs of Crohn’s and Colitis can be embarrassing and misunderstood, and it may be tempting to ignore them, which is where our symptom checker can help. Over 50,000 people have used it so far, but to really transform lives we need a clear pathway to diagnosis in place across the UK.
“We welcome Hannah Bardell’s question to the Prime Minister today and we thank her, and her constituent Steven Sharp, for their work in supporting our campaign for the early diagnosis of Crohn’s and Colitis.”
The Crohn’s and Colitis UK online symptom checker can be found by clicking here: Crohn’s and Colitis UK symptom checker.