Patient Support Groups

Friends of St Mark’s

Who are the Friends? The Friends of St Mark’s Hospital (we are registered charity 258233) is a group of volunteers who are supporting the work of this internationally famous specialist hospital. We work in a variety of ways with particular emphasis on the welfare of patients. Please read our latest newsletter by clicking here.

The Friends of St Mark’s Team

The Friends has come a long way since we began in 1868, distributing red flannel nightgowns to patients in need. We are the oldest charity of this kind and have been in service for 155 years. These days we have a slightly wider remit.

Financial assistance: Not everyone has access to a car and sometimes public transport is impossible. We can help with transport costs, an overnight stay for the patient/relatives or even emergency financial relief. Any request falling within our constitution is looked at sympathetically.

Christmas gifts: We make sure no one is left out over the festive period by providing presents for all St Mark’s inpatients on Christmas Day.

Improvement projects: Currently we are transforming the patient day room on the Intestinal Rehabilitation Unit (Roundwood Ward) into a bright welcoming space. The use of this room is flexible allowing for socialisation, art therapy, psychology sessions and just chilling out and watching TV. Our funds provided a 55” television, coffee table, bookshelves and chairs, and more to come. We are involved in other projects which include the Dayroom on G2 Ward, support for an Adolescent Room and funding for Patient Information Leaflets. 

We welcome the opportunity to help patients. All suggestions welcome.

How can you help?

Give us your time. We often have small projects that need an extra pair of hands. We would love to have you join us.

Become a Friend (It’s £10 a year). We are always looking for friendly folk, keen to make sure every patient has access to the help they need for their hospital stay.

Send us a donation. You will be funding practical help for people who may otherwise find their hospital stay difficult or even impossible. The Friends of St Mark’s Hospital. Barclays Bank. Sort Code: 20-44-86. Account Number: 80910244

Please get in touch

Address: The Friends of St Mark’s Hospital, Room ENT-25, St Mark’s Hospital, Acton Lane, London NW10 7NS

The Red Lion Group (RLG)

Red Lion Group Website:

The Red Lion Group (RLG) is a national support group and charity founded in 1994 by a group of patients and staff at St Mark’s Hospital for those who have had, or are considering, ileo-anal pouch surgery. RLG provides a friendly and informed forum for the sharing of information, ideas, concerns and experiences to support pouchees, potential pouchees and their friends and families.

Although founded and largely associated with St Mark’s Hospital, where pouch surgery was first conceived and performed, RLG draws members from other hospitals in the UK and overseas. It helps patients and families throughout their surgery and gives them support and reassurance during their recovery period. One of the support group’s other key functions is to raise funds for important research projects into the causes, symptoms and treatment of intestinal conditions related to pouches.

RLG radically improved its online presence and services during the Covid-19 crisis and continued to provide excellent support to patients in spite of the restrictions. This has continued post-Covid, with a class-leading website for pouch patients, which includes a library of interactive webinars recorded by experts in pouch care, news of monthly face-to-face forums on Zoom and frequent webcasts by pouch specialists. RLG produces Roar!, a bi-annual colour magazine that features case studies, key issues, members’ activities and forthcoming events. There is also a lively Facebook group run by the Trustees with more than 1,400 subscribers, making it the largest pouch-related social media platform outside the USA, and a YouTube channel featuring recordings of past events. 

To find out more about RLG’s social platforms see or for membership information contact Gary Bronziet at

The Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Association (IA)

The Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Association (IA) is a registered charity, supporting people living with an ileostomy or internal pouch.
Tel: 0800 018 4724, 0170 254 9859

Young IA

Young IA offers support to young members under the age of 40, either pre-surgery or post-surgery, who undergo either an ileostomy or an internal pouch operation.
Tel: 0800 018 4724

The Inside Out Stoma Support Group

Inside Out was set up in November 1999, by stoma patients for stoma patients, to provide advice and help. A few years later, they were incorporated into St Mark’s Hospital Foundation.

Inside Out’s main aim is to provide continuing support, reassurance and information to anyone who may have, or is about to have, a stoma, Colostomy, Ileostomy or Urostomy.

Inside Out provides support to patients, families and carers before, during, and after surgery. They hold coffee mornings at St Mark’s Hospital every two weeks; these mornings provide a safe, enjoyable space to meet other people with similar stomas, share advice and generally have fun. Occasionally Inside Out arranges for manufacturers to come to the coffee mornings to present new products.

The Inside Out Team are currently working on a new website.

Colostomy UK

Colostomy UK is a registered charity, supporting people living with a colostomy. 24h helpline: 0800 328 4257, email:

Junior Ostomy Support Helpline (JOSH)

Junior Ostomy Support Helpline (JOSH) provides support for parents and carers of young people living with a stoma and other bowel and bladder dysfunctions through Colostomy UK. 24h helpline: 0800 328 4257, email:

The Urostomy Association

The Urostomy Association is a registered charity, supporting people living with a urostomy. Tel: 01386 430140, email:

IBD Patient Support Panel

The IBD Patient Panel meets regularly to discuss topics of care within the hospital. The IBD Patient Panel is a forum for patients who use the services within the hospital to provide the team with feedback and suggestions for improvements.

The IBD Patient Panel jointly with the IBD Department arranges an annual IBD Open Day. 

If you would like to contribute to the IBD Patient Panel by either attending meetings, or by highlighting a particular area you would like to see the panel address, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our contact details are on our main IBD page here.

Books For Patients

To view our St Mark’s stoma and pouch books for patients, click here.