People with debilitating bowel conditions are being invited to take part in a study to better understand what causes the diseases to worsen.

Called PREdiCCt, (Prognostic effect of environmental factors in Crohn’s and colitis), the study is led by the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian and is recruiting patients from Scotland and England.

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen, who will provide expertise in diet and nutrition plus analysis of participants’ gut bacteria, want to shed light on everyday factors that may influence flare-ups of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and investigate how changes in diet and lifestyle might help The study will collect information from 1,500 patients.

Participants will be asked to complete online questionnaires about their eating, exercise and sleeping habits and monitor feelings of stress and anxiety.

They will also be asked to provide mouth swabs and stool samples so researchers can analyse their DNA and examine bacteria living in their gut.

Those taking part will provide monthly updates for two years, detailing how well their symptoms are being controlled and any significant events.

Experts will compare information from those who experience flare-ups with those who do not. They hope to pinpoint everyday factors that could contribute to the onset of symptoms.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are caused by inflammation in the bowel. Around one in 200 people in the UK are living with the conditions, and young people are particularly affected.

Symptoms include severe abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and tiredness that can affect all aspects of day-to-day life.

Current treatments are focused on alleviating the symptoms but patient responses vary. There is no cure.

‘Patients often ask us whether there are any changes to their diet or lifestyle that would help to better manage their symptoms,’ said chief investigator, Dr Charlie Lees. ‘We hope the findings from this study will give us the evidence base needed to provide better advice for those living with these debilitating diseases.’

If you have patients who would be interested in becoming involved in this study, you should refer them to the PREdiCCt website – - where there is a specific section on this study and an application form.

Janice Oman

Scotland Representation Manager

There’s a lot to be proud of in Scotland – with the rest of the UK watching how we do things and in what we have in the way of a contract here.

An article in the NPA’s membership magazine featured an interview with the SNP’s Philippa Whitford. The MP for Central Ayrshire, who sits on the House of Commons Health Select Committee at Westminster, explained how community pharmacy functions in Scotland and asked what lessons the rest of the UK could learn from us.

Scotland will be at the forefront of laying out a vision for the future of pharmacy across Europe at this summer’s Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU) symposium. Rose Marie Parr, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland, will speak at the event in London, on 13 June, in front of around 100 delegates from across the EU.

The long-awaited Murray Review into Community Pharmacy Clinical Services also appears to vindicate Scotland’s approach. The report, carried out by Richard Murray, Director of Policy at the Kings Fund, suggested smoking cessation services in England should become nationally commissioned, as they are in Scotland.

Despite there being much to be proud of, Scotland is not standing still, and we are actively supporting quality improvement in patient care.

The NPA is fully behind this and has produced resources to tie in with the QI Patient Safety Climate

Please do not hesitate to contact Janice on if you have any issues you would like to raise.


NPA members in Scotland can use the NPA Patient Safety Incident online reporting tool to report patient safety incidents including near misses and errors. All pharmacies should have procedures in place for recording all incidents and near-misses, and for reporting incidents.

Pharmacists and pharmacy staff can use the tool to report near- misses and errors in an anonymous, systematic and quick-to-use format.

The Incident report form is submitted to the NPA without patient or staff identifiers. After completion, forms can be printed off or emailed to the pharmacy to keep with the addition of patient details as a pharmacy record of the incident.

An NPA Superintendent update recently provided the first patient safety incident report, which included top tips for error minimisation. Why not access the tool yourself ( and-support/practical-support/ patient-medication-safety-incident- report-form-scotland)?

There are also webinars on patient safety and collaborative working, including improving GP and community pharmacy relations, relevant to members in Scotland.


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