Jobs support call for Crohn’s sufferers

Campaigning: James Hanna
Campaigning: James Hanna
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A STUDENT from Sheffield has given his backing to a charity campaign to increase job prospects for people with irritable bowel conditions.

James Hanna, a geography student at The University of Sheffield, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2005 following a colonoscopy, after putting up with symptoms throughout his early teens.

The 19-year-old currently has his condition under control, but is worried about the future and what impact a full-time job could have on him being able to manage his illness.

He has given his backing to the Crohn’s and Colitis UK charity’s report which calls for better facilities for people with bowel problems to allow them to stay in work, put together after research found 68 per cent of employees felt they had little or no control over their working conditions and 78 per cent of respondents worried about managing their symptoms or flare-ups while at work.

James said: “I think the use of the toilet without restrictions has to be paramount. I also think employers should give employees the opportunity to confidentially declare any illnesses which may affect the efficiency of their work.

“I think employees, regardless of what illness they have, should be allowed to use the facilities, so people who are ill do not feel isolated.

“Also, I think there should be no stigma attached to having the sudden urge to use the toilet. This is often the case, I would have thought, if you work and live with the same people for a long time.”

The charity has also set up an interactive microsite called www.gooddeskbaddesk.com which demonstrates the challenges faced by people working with irritable bowel disease and the simple steps that employers can make to improve working conditions for those employees.