Putting people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in control of their care.


Patient Information Sheet

The University of Sheffield CTRU are working with Crohn’s and Colitis UK and local partners in Sheffield, as one of only four projects to be funded under a new Health Foundation programme called Common Ambition (project number FR-000002444),.

The aim of the 3-year project is to re-design IBD services, shaped by those who use them – people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)s. Whilst the project is being delivered in Sheffield, the learning from this project will lead to better outcomes for people who live with Crohn’s and Colitis across the UK.

On this project, we are working to re-design services, and deliver improved outcomes for people living with IBD.

To do this, we will be working in partnership with: 


Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) are chronic debilitating conditions with unpredictable symptom flares and significant ongoing impact on quality of life and psychological morbidity. This requires long-term therapy including immunosuppression, timely treatment changes (including surgery), monitoring and counselling. Traditional care is dominated by specialist hospital units, based on scheduled, face-to-face appointments. Access during a flare may be difficult and on contact with the service, there is a difference between the priorities of patients and clinicians. 

Sheffield NHS Trust has experienced a 40% increase in admissions in three years, with a disproportionate representation of people from deprived backgrounds. IBD UK’s 2020 Service Benchmarking Audit found excess steroid use, opportunities to improve Shared Decision Making (SDM), lack of education and patient engagement opportunities, and only 1% of patients reporting a personalised care plan. Models of care that deliver personalised strategies to self-manage and empower are critical for long-term conditions. 

The study

We aim to put patients in control of their care by: i) co-designing a structure to tell care teams what is important to them; and ii) making that visible in multidisciplinary care team meetings and patient consultations, to optimise care. 

The Sheffield Microsystems Coaching Academy (MCA) will steer the service improvement through the established Dartmouth approach. This uses a current state analysis, followed by rapid improvement cycles to implement, measure, and sustain improvements. To put patients in control of their care, MCA will train a patient from the Sheffield IBD service as an MCA coach, leading the microsystem, with other service users contributing alongside healthcare professionals. 

Larger scale patient engagement will run alongside the microsystem - all 4,000 patients from the Trust will be invited to engage in a way that is meaningful and accessible to them (ranging from one-off experience narratives, to more intensive workshop involvement). Additionally, EpiGenesys will develop an app to collect information from people living with Crohn's or Colitis and deliver it to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Engagement opportunities will be co-designed by people with lived experience of IBD, their families, carers and communities. With advocacy support from VoiceAbility we intend to make sure we are hearing from people with Crohn’s and Colitis of all ages, genders, backgrounds and ethnicities

The evaluation will show how, and by how much, putting patients in control of their care improves outcomes.

Study updates

The AWARE-IBD Study opened to recruitment in October 2021 at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. As of December 2022, 277 patients have been recruited for the study. The microsystem started in May 2022 led by Samantha McCormick, the patient coach.

For more updates on the AWARE-IBD Project, you can visit our Twitter page (@AwareIbd). You can also watch our Look North appearance on YouTube.

VoiceAbility toolkit

As part of the AWARE-IBD Project, people with IBD have worked with Sheffield IBD Centre and VoiceAbility to create a toolkit to help you communicate with confidence and prepare for your appointments. The content of the toolkit is all based on their own experiences with IBD.

Read the toolkit online

This toolkit is also available online at the VoiceAbility website. You can use the website's toolbar to read the text aloud, show simplified information, or translate the words into your own language.

If you would like to request a paper copy of the toolkit, contact the AWARE-IBD team ( 

Project Leadership Group





Alan Lobo

Chief Investigator

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Daniel Hind

CTRU Oversight

University of Sheffield - CTRU

Elena Sheldon

Project Manager

University of Sheffield - CTRU

Agnieszka Ossowska

Trials Support Officer

University of Sheffield - CTRU

Nikki Totton


University of Sheffield - CTRU

Chris Murray

Managing Director

University of Sheffield - Epigenesys

Kevin Randall

Business Analyst

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Luke Barron

Research Co-ordinator

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Rachel Ainley

Health Services Manager

Crohn's & Colitis UK

Gemma Winsor

Health Services and Research Programme Officer

Crohn's & Colitis UK

Ruth Wakeman

Director of Services, Policy and Evidence

Crohn's & Colitis UK

Samantha McCormick Patient Coach Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

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