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A group of 70 patients with inflammatory bowel disease were asked to complete a questionnaire about their disease counselling preferences, 59 replied. Seventy-five per cent wanted further advice about their disease. Of these, 60% wished to receive the advice by discussion with a trained advisor. Seventy-six per cent wanted this person to be a hospital specialist, but 50% would accept advice from a specialty trained nurse. Eighty-six per cent would like this in conjunction with 'same day' telephone advice from a hospital specialist and 85% of patients wish to be taught how to adjust their own therapy. There is an increasingly important role for nurse counsellors in the management of these diseases.