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.
The endoscopy department at Bedford Hospital is a busy department with a highly qualified specialist team. The unit undertakes approximately 12,000 procedures per year and also provides the colonoscopy screening for the Bedfordshire Bowel Cancer Screening service. The endoscopy unit is open 8.00am–6.00pm Monday to Sunday.
Services offered include:
- Trans Nasal Endoscopy
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
- Breath Tests
- Capsule Endoscopy (PillCam)
The department has six procedure rooms, two gender segregated recovery areas with 12 beds overall, reclining chairs and two quiet rooms. Staff in the department include: consultant physicians, surgeons, nurse endoscopists, highly trained endoscopy specialist nurses and health workers. All ably supported by a large administrative team.
If you would like to ask a question about your procedure, cancel or change your appointment, please contact us on 01234 792269.
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.
- General Information
- Advice for Diabetics
- Endoscopy Assessment form (for patients to complete and bring with them on the day of their procedure)
- Consent Form
Gastroscopy – used to investigate the oesophagus, stomach and duodenumGastroscopy 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:
- Oesophageal dilatation information (stretching a narrowing of the gullet)
- Oesophageal stent information (small tube inserted into the gullet through a narrow area to keep the gullet open)
- Insertion of Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastroscopy (PEG) Tube information (inserted into the stomach for feeding in patients who are unable to swallow)
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
- Link to instructions on use of Picolax
- Link to instructions on use of Klean Prep
- Link to instructions on use of Moviprep
ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography) – to view the bile ducts in the liver, the gallbladder and the pancreatic ducts.
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.
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.
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.