Patient Support Groups

Books For Patients

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

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.

Friends of St Mark’s

Who are the Friends?

The Friends of St Mark’s Hospital are those who wish to support the work of this internationally famous specialist hospital. The Friends make a voluntary contribution in a variety of ways, with particular emphasis on the welfare of patients. They get involved mainly by promoting social activities and raising funds, which are used to improve the comfort and well-being of St Mark’s patients.

Friends serving on the Committee are elected as Trustees of the Charity by membership. The Committee meets monthly to conduct business of the Friends, consider requests, and organise future activities.

There is an Annual General Meeting, which all members are invited to, held in late June. The Friends also produce a Newsletter for its member twice a year, providing news of the Hospital and of the Friends, and including information on past and future events.

What do the Friends do?

Since St Mark’s moved to Northwick Park in 1995, the Friends have:

  • Established a garden at the front entrance as a retreat for patients and staff; ensuring the garden is properly maintained throughout the year.
  • Set up the St Mark’s tea bar, which is run by a team of volunteers, and serves sandwiches, baked potatoes, pasta dishes, hot drinks and snacks (and much more!) daily.
  • Finance the art work display throughout the hospital; loaned works are changed every six months, and some pictures have been bought by St Mark’s Hospital.

The Friends also financed the refurbishment of the patient’s day room on Frederick Salmon Ward, and profits from the tea bar equipped the patients’ Laundry Room on the ward.

Ways of becoming a Friend

The Friends’ annual subscription is a minimum of £5, but they are of course pleased to receive donations of any amount. The subscription falls on April 5th, and if you join after January 1st you will remain a member until April 5th the following year.

If you pay by standing order, your subscription will automatically be collected annually when the order was set up. If you are a taxpayer, giving by covenant is the most tax-efficient way of supporting the Friends of St Mark’s. When you take out a covenant, you make a written promise to donate regularly for at least four years, usually on a monthly or annual basis. Setting up a standing order is the easiest, most convenient way to pay. Under this agreement the Friends of St Mark’s, as a registered charity, is eligible to reclaim the tax which you have already paid on the money you give. This means that the value of your donation is increased by nearly a third at no extra cost to you.

If you would like to find out more about the Friends of St Mark’s, please contact Trish Evans on

The Friends of St Mark’s is a Registered Charity No. 258233.