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Gastroenterology and Hepatology service

What is gastroenterology and hepatology?

The specialty of gastroenterology and hepatology cares for patients with both benign and malignant disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and liver. The specialty encompasses a wide range of conditions; from common disorders, such as dyspepsia, and irritable bowel syndrome, Coeliac disease to highly complex problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD),short gut syndrome, pancreatico-biliary diseases, acute and chronic liver diseases and liver failure.

Gastroenterologists also see patients with a variety of general medical problems, particularly iron deficiency anaemia and weight loss. Much of the work is based in outpatients - particularly to exclude organic disease and to provide rapid diagnosis and treatment for patients with suspected GI cancer.

The investigations required often include endoscopy and imaging. An acute and emergency inpatient service is needed for common problems such as gastrointestinal haemorrhage, acute severe IBD, intestinal failure and decompensated liver disease (particularly due to alcohol).

Gastroenterologists provide a high-quality, safe, diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy service. This includes therapeutic procedures such as stricture dilatation, palliative stenting, dye spray colonoscopy, removal of polyps, insertion of Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) and Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedures. Colonoscopy surveillance is offered for patients with IBD, patients with polyps and high risk group patients for bowel cancer. Endoscopic surveillance for Barrett's is offered as per national guidelines.

Nationally, there has been a continuing steady increase in outpatient and inpatient work for gastroenterologists, particularly in relation to alcoholic liver disease and the increasing numbers of cancers of the GI tract that occur in an ageing population. The inpatient case mix usually comprises patients with GI bleeding, cancer, intestinal failure, severe alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver disease and acute severe IBD. Close liaison with colleagues in surgery, radiology, pathology and oncology facilitates the treatment of different forms of GI disease.

Our Gastroenterology service

Our services are provided on an inpatient and outpatient basis. We have 25 dedicated gastroenterology beds on our Stanhoe Ward. Endoscopic procedures are carried out on site in the endoscopy unit and on an outreach basis. We provide emergency care for all acute and chronic conditions within the gastroenterology specialty.

Outpatient clinics

Our outpatient clinics are held on site and at the North Cambridgeshire Hospital in Wisbech, Fakenham Medical Centre and St George's Medical Centre in Littleport, Cambridgeshire. Clinics are held for the following conditions:

  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Oesophageal reflux
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dysphagia
  • Regurgitation, abdominal
  • Abdominal pain
  • Right upper quadrant, epigastric, right lower quadrant and left iliac fossae pain
  • Iron deficiency anaemia, low iron, malabsorption, GI bleeding
  • Difficulty and pain on swallowing
  • Ascites, diarrhoea, constipation, change in bowel habit
  • GI neuroendocrine disease
  • Faecal incontinence
  • Weight loss
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Coeliac disease
  • Altered bowel habit
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Peptic ulceration
  • Oesophagael dysmotility
  • Pancreatic disease
  • Dyspepsia

In addition to the above clinics we also provide the following hepatology services on site and at the North Cambridgeshire Hospital:

  • Acute or chronic liver disease
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Jaundice
  • Biliary disease
  • Abnormal liver function test or abnormal liver imaging

Our specialist team

Our gastroenterology service has long been provided by a team with consultants, career-grade doctors, doctors in training, specialist nurses, ward-based and outpatient nurses, and other allied healthcare professionals working together, committed to providing high-quality patient care.

The consultants in our team are:

  • Dr Andrew Douds
  • Dr Shailesh Karanth
  • Dr Rory McGouran
  • Dr Alan Wiles
  • Dr Abhay Bagewadi

Contact details for gastroenterology services

Our consultants contact details can be found on our Consultants directory page.

Useful web links

The following websites may contain information that is of use to you: