Coronavirus: endoscopy update
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are only performing emergency endoscopy. Non-urgent endoscopies, including cancer surveillance procedures, will be deferred.
Please read our advice and information before attending the service.
Our endoscopy unit
Our state-of-the-art endoscopy unit at St Thomas' Hospital opened in 2013 to meet the growing demand of patients needing a variety of tests to examine and treat their digestive tract.
We care for approximately 18,000 patients per year, a number predicted to increase.
You can be referred to us for conditions such as anaemia, colitis, Crohn's disease, ulcers, oesophagitis, cancer of the digestive tract, rectal bleeding, gallstones and liver disease.
We work across both Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital sites with a main base at St Thomas' Hospital on the 1st floor of North Wing and a satellite endoscopy room at Guy’s Hospital on the 2nd floor in Day Surgery, Tower Wing. For the comfort and ease of our patients, there are separate changing and waiting areas for men and women.
We are a day case, tertiary referral centre that treats outpatients, inpatients and transfers from other hospitals in and around London. We accommodate patients for planned gastrointestinal and urgent and emergency therapeutic procedures under sedation.
What is endoscopy
There are several types of endoscopy. Most involve having a thin tube with a tiny camera on the end passed through a natural opening in your body such as your nose, your mouth or your rectum, depending on which part of your body is being examined. The camera sends images to a screen so the doctor can get a closer look at the inside of your body.
What is endoscopy used for?
Endoscopy is used to look more closely at various organs and structures inside your body and you may have a biopsy (tissue sample) taken which will be looked at in a laboratory. The procedure can also be used to treat cancer and relieve symptoms.
Referrals into the endoscopy service
Patients can be referred by their GP on the NHS e-Referral Service (eRS) for a direct access oesophago-gastro-duodenoscopy (OGD) scope.
For all other endoscopy procedures, a patient will have an outpatient or telephone appointment with a doctor or nurse specialist, this is usually a gastroenterologist, lower GI colorectal surgeon or upper GI surgeon.
I've been told I need an endoscopy procedure. How do I get it booked?
Once our booking team receives your referral - there may be a few days to get this referral processed - and have an appointment date for you, they will try to call you so please make sure that Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital and your GP have the correct telephone numbers for you.
We aim to do routine procedures within six weeks, or within two weeks if it was requested as urgent. If you have further queries about this, please call us on 020 7188 8887.
We have a health questionnaire (Word 62Kb) that we ask patients to complete to help speed up admission or pre-assessment. This can be filled in on the day of your admission in reception.
You can also do this in advance by emailing a completed questionnaire to EndoscopyAdmissionsTeamGSTT@gstt.nhs.uk.
What if the endoscopy booking team can't contact me?
You will be sent a letter stating that we have tried to contact you and asking you to contact us within a certain timeframe. If you do not contact us, you will be removed from our waiting list and discharged back to the care of your GP or referring clinician.
Can I change the date of my endoscopy procedure?
You are only allowed to reschedule your procedure once and, if you fail to attend, will likely be removed from our waiting list and discharged back to the care of your GP or referring clinician.
Short notice rescheduling and failing to attend costs the NHS money, please give us as much notice as possible so that we can try to get another patient in for that time slot.
What if I feel I do not need or want the procedure anymore?
You were referred for a clinical reason. This is a diagnostic test to try to find out more about a particular problem or condition you have. However, please contact the team if you do not want your booked procedure.