The Gastroenterology department provides an extensive range of services covering all areas of gastroenterology and hepatology, including the following: Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Hepatology, Nutrition, Investigation of suspected GI cancer, Functional GI Disorders, Dyspesia including Open Access Endoscopy Service. The department works closely with colleagues in General Surgery in order to provide seamless care for patients with gastrointestinal cancer and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). We also have close links with Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge for patients requiring tertiary care for Liver Disease.
The endoscopy department is renowned for its efficiency and undertakes over 5,500 procedures per year. Waiting times for any procedure have been amongst the lowest in Eastern England historically and are currently between two and six weeks. We work closely with the GI surgeons and patients who are found to have cancer at endoscopy are referred immediately to the appropriate surgical team, nurse specialist and MDT. In addition, the L&D team is part of the Bowel Cancer Screening service for Bedfordshire which covers all those aged 60 to 75 in our area.
Referrals can be made via E-RS only.
Procedures undertaken in our Unit include the following:
The following non-endoscopic services are also provided:
We aim to manage all patients as efficiently as possible. Where it is obvious that a patient requires investigation from the referral letter this will be arranged before the patient is seen in clinic. For example:
Stable patients with coeliac disease are referred back to their GP with guidance on what is required in terms of follow-up.
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease are provided with self-management plans that should allow them to manage minor flare-ups in the community, but also have a contact card so they can be seen urgently in clinic if they are having problems.
The self-management plans include advice on disease monitoring and if patients require colonoscopic follow-up they are contacted to arrange this at an appropriate time. The Gastroenterology department has systems in place to ensure that patients requiring endoscopic follow-up (such as those with Barrett’s oesophagus and colonic polyps) are contacted to arrange this in a timely fashion.
To families of all our patients, we wanted to give a reminder that sadly, at both Bedford and the Luton & Dunstable Hospital, we are still unable to allow any visitors on site, unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example in maternity or children’s departments, or for those patients who are receiving palliative treatment at the end of their lives, on a case-by-case basis.
At Bedford we will call one designated member of family every day between 1.30pm and 4.30pm with a daily phone update. Those who miss a call back during this time and are concerned can contact the helpline on 01234 730500.
For the Luton & Dunstable, we are offering a dedicated Next of Kin helpline for family members who want to check up on their loved ones – please nominate one family member to call 01582 718884 between 8am and 6pm.