Many healthcare professionals under-estimate the effect of ulcerative colitis symptoms on patients, according to a survey presented at the 20th United European Gastroenterology Week meeting recently. The “Mind the Gap” survey, which was sponsored by Shire, is the first international study in ulcerative colitis to compare the views and beliefs of patients, physicians and specialist nurses. Commenting on the findings, Professor Stefan Schreiber, Institute for Clinical Molecular Biology, Christian Albrechts University, Germany said: “One of the main conclusions of the survey is that healthcare professionals may underestimate the effect of specify ulcerative colitis symptoms on patients and may not recognise issues that are important. For example, patients’ classification of their own symptom severity revealed greater severity particularly when compared with physician estimates and more than half of patients stated that ulcerative colitis symptoms over the past year had affected their quality of life, while physicians estimated that just over one third of patients would have a reduced quality of life over the same period.” The survey, which involved 775 patients with ulcerative colitis and 525 healthcare professionals involved with the treatment of patients with the disease from five European countries and Canada, found that on average, patients reported almost six fare ups in the previous year while physicians and nurses reported almost four. Pain was key for patients, ranking as one of the top two most bothersome symptoms (with urgency), while physicians and nurses ranked urgency and stool frequency highest.