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An endoscopy is a procedure where organs inside your body are looked at using an instrument called an endoscope.

An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube that has a light and camera at one end. Images of the inside of your body are shown on a television screen.

Bedford Hospital

The endoscopy department at Bedford Hospital is a busy department with a highly qualified specialist team. The department undertakes approximately 12,000 procedures per year and also provides the colonoscopy screening for the Bedfordshire Bowel Cancer Screening service. The unit has six procedure rooms, two gender segregated recovery bays with 12 beds overall, reclining chairs and two quiet rooms. The department offers a wide range of high-quality diagnostic, screening and surveillance endoscopy, as well as innovative therapeutic endoscopy.

For many types of endoscopy, the individual needs to fast for around 6-12 hours, though this varies based on the type.

You are also expected to be in the unit for 2-4 hours.

Service performance

We are a JAG accredited unit. This means we offer a high-quality, safe and appropriate endoscopy service, delivered by a highly trained, supported and motivated staff.

The Services we offer are:

  • Diagnostic, Surveillance and Therapeutic Gastroscopy
  • Trans Nasal Endoscopy
  • Diagnostic, Surveillance and Therapeutic Colonoscopy
  • Diagnostic, Surveillance and Therapeutic Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
  • Cystoscopy
  • Diagnostic Bronchoscopy/EBUS
  • Therapeutic ERCP/Spyglass
  • Capsule sponge
  • Capsule Endoscopy (PillCam)


To examine your oesophagus (gullet ) stomach and duodenum

Gastroscopy information leaflet

Other therapeutic procedures that can be carried out during gastroscopy include:

  • Oesophageal dilatation – stretching a narrowed gullet
  • Oesophageal stent – insertion of a small tube in the gullet to keep the narrow area open
  • Insertion of PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastroscopy) tube – a feeding tube to give food, fluid and medicine directly into the stomach by passing a thin tube through the skin and into the stomach.
  • Insertion of Nasojejunal tube and Nasogatric tube- a long thin plastic tube which is inserted via your nostril. It follows the path of your food pipe and passes into your stomach and onwards into your small bowel. Nasogastric tube is inserting a plastic tube from your nostril down to your stomach.
  • Banding (Ligation) of varices – wraps the varices with an elastic band, this essentially “strangles” the veins so that they can’t bleed.
  • We also offer other bleeding therapies with the use of Endoclip, APC, injection of adrenaline, Purastat, and other various hemostatic modalities.

Trans nasal endoscopy

To examine your oesophagus (gullet), stomach and the first part of your small bowel. This is done by passing a long thin flexible tube with a small video chip built into its tip, called a Naso-endoscope, through the nose and into the gastro-intestinal tract.

Naso-endoscope information leaflet


For examination of the entire large bowel (colon)

Colonoscopy information leaflet

 Other therapeutic procedures that can be carried out during colonoscopy include:

  • Polypectomy – removal of polyp (growth inside the colon)
  • EMR (endoscopic mucosal resection) – injection of fluids underneath the lining of the colon to raise the polyp before removal
  • Colonic dilatation – stretching a narrowed colon
  • Colonic stents – insertion of a flexible tube in the colon to help expand the narrow area
  • Banding of haemorrhoids – placing a small rubber band around the haemorrhoids
  • We also offer other bleeding therapies with the use of Endoclip, APC, injection of adrenaline, Purastat, and other various endoscopic hemostasis methods.


or examination of the left side (lower part) of the large bowel (colon)

Flexi-Sigmoidoscopy information leaflet


Allows your doctor to examine the lining of your bladder and the tube that carries urine out of your body (urethra).


it is a procedure to look at your lungs and air passages. A thin tube is with a camera on its tip is passed through your nose or mouth, down your throat and into your lungs.

Bronchoscopy information leaflet 

Endobronchial ultrasound (ebus)

is very similar to an ordinary bronchoscopy. The procedure investigate enlarged lymph nodes in the chest and allows doctors to take samples (biopsies) through the airway wall.

EBUS information leaflet

Ercp (endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography)

to examine the common bile duct and the pancreatic duct. A therapeutic procedure to remove stones or treat blockages of bile duct.

ERCP information leaflet

ERCP with SpyGlass

A scope within a scope. The distal tip of spyglass endoscope has a unique miniaturised working channel, fibre optic and lens. Spyglass provides direct visualisation of the biliary ducts.

SpyGlass is the world’s first Cholangioscope and is manufactured by Boston Scientific. This disposable single use instrument is operated and inserted through a standard Duodenoscope.

  1. After insertion onto the working channel of a Duodenoscope, the SpyGlass Endoscope is secured just below the grip section
  2. SpyGlass Endoscope and processor – showing insertion point and suction / irrigator ports
  3. Distal tip of SpyGlass Endoscopy has a unique miniaturised working channel, fibre optic, and lens. SpyGlass provides direct visualisation of the biliary ducts

Capsule sponge

is a small capsule on a string, which is designed to collect a sample of cells from your oesophagus (gullet).

Cytosponge information leaflet

Capsule endoscopy (pillcam)

an easy to swallow pill with two cameras inside. It captures images as it travels naturally through your colon. Images are transmitted to a data recorder box that you wear around your abdomen. Once the test completes, the images are downloaded from the recorder box and viewed by the specialist.

PillCam information leaflet


If you have not attended a Pre Assessment appointment you will receive a phone call for you to be pre assessed over the phone.  This may come through as an unknown number. Please ensure you have contact details of your next of kin, escort and a list of your medicines to hand.  The nurse will go into detail about the procedure, check your medical history and answer any questions you may have.


Your routine medication can be taken with sips of water but this will be discussed at Pre-Assessment.

If you take blood-thinning tablets such as Warfarin, Clopidogrel, Edoxaban etc., please let the endoscopy unit know at least 7 days before the procedure unless instructions have been given to you by your doctor or you were already instructed during your telephone pre-assessment.

If you are taking medication to control your diabetes (insulin or medication please ensure the Endoscopy Unit is aware so that your appointment can be made at the beginning of the list.

Contact us

If you would like to ask a question about your procedure, cancel or change your appointment, please contact us on 01234 792269.

Please contact 07392 126600 If you would like to discuss any aspects of the procedure before your appointment.

Patient Focus Group

Endoscopy is committed to improving our services through community and patient involvement. As part of our patient involvement strategy we want to focus on creating opportunities to encourage patients to share their views and feed-back to improve their experience. If you would like to be part of our patient focus group we would value your feedback. The group meets for quarterly events, refreshment is provided and parking fee claims.

Please indicate your interest by emailing us. A member of staff will respond to you.

Further information

You can learn more about the procedures in our Inpatients information leaflets.

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital

The Endoscopy Unit is situated on the ground floor of the main hospital building.

  • It consists of 4 procedure rooms, including one with negative air pressure.
  • The Endoscope Decontamination Unit is housed within the Endoscopy unit. A new state of the art unit was built in 2019.
  • The Unit currently provides 49 sessions per week including 3 sessions run by Respiratory Medicine for Bronchoscopy.
  • All gastrointestinal procedures are undertaken in the Endoscopy Unit (diagnostic and therapeutic gastroscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopy and PEG insertion).
  • ERCPs and Naso-jejunal tube insertion lists are performed in the X-ray unit, twice weekly. There is also a therapeutic oesophageal list in X-ray once per week.

We also provide a dedicated Gastroenterology consultant-led emergency 24 hour 365 days per week bleed service for out-of-hours emergencies.

Patients are usually referred to one of the consultants for an outpatient appointment. However, we also operate an open access service for gastroscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy, so GPs may refer a patient directly for one of these tests. On occasion it may be more appropriate to organise an endoscopy test before being seen in the outpatient appointment.

The following information is important for patients to read before coming in for their procedure.

Gastroscopy – used to investigate the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum

Gastroscopy information booklet

Patients who have been referred for a gastroscopy are usually advised to stop taking treatment for their stomach complaint(s), at least 2 weeks before the procedure. However, those patients who are having follow up or surveillance examinations, should continue to take their normal medication.

Other procedures which can be carried out during a therapeutic gastroscopy include:

Flexi-Sigmoidoscopy – to look at the left side of the large bowel (colon)

Flexi-Sigmoidoscopy information

Colonoscopy – for investigating the entire large bowel (colon)

Colonoscopy information

ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography) – to view the bile ducts in the liver, the gallbladder and the pancreatic ducts.
ERCP information

Our Respiratory physicians also perform Bronchoscopies to look at the main airways in the lungs.

How long does it take?

Procedure times vary but you should expect to be in the unit for 2-4 hours.

We appreciate that some patients may be apprehensive and nervous about having an Endoscopic procedure.  Our staff are highly trained and will do their best to reassure and put all patients at ease.

Inpatient Service

We also perform urgent procedures on patients who are already in hospital.  However, there are occasions where an outpatient may require admission following a (complicated) procedure.  In the event that this may be predicated, patients will be told when the procedure is arranged.

Contact Us

If you have any questions please contact us between 8.00 to 18.00 on 01582 718486. Alternatively, you can call our 24 hour emergency advice line on 07815178199.

Endoscopy Unit Opening Times

Monday to Sunday 07.30 to 18.00

Information for Carers and Relatives

Please note we have limited waiting space in the department, therefore kindly arrange to drop off your family member/patient.  It is important that your contact details are available, so that a staff member can contact you once your family member/patient is ready to be discharged. This will be in approximately 2–4 hours.

Unfortunately, Relatives/Carers are not allowed to accompany the patient into the department except in exceptional circumstances. If you have a concern, please contact our Endoscopy Reception staff on 01582 497298 and they will direct you to the most appropriate person.


If you need an interpreter please let us know. If you would like this information in another language, please telephone the Endoscopy Booking Office on 01582 497273.

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