For digestive problems such as difficulty with swallowing, persistent abdominal pain, persistent heart burn and indigestion, unexplained weight loss or persistent nausea, the kind of endoscope used is called a gastroscope, which is placed down the patient’s throat to look at the upper digestive system.
Although sometimes uncomfortable, the procedure is usually painless, with the patient having a local anaesthetic spray on their throat so they cannot feel the endoscope entering the body, and in some cases given a sedative to relax the patient and enable easier insertion of the scope. The procedure usually takes a few minutes although in some cases it may last longer.
Independent sector health and social care provider Care UK runs an innovative mobile health service called Greater Manchester NHS Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (http://www.greater-
Patients are referred by GPs to the specialist team which provides urology, gynaecology, musculoskeletal, ear, nose and throat, general surgery and endoscopy services, as well as on-site diagnostics such as CT, MRI, ultrasound and x-ray.
Gordon Deans, consultant and medical director at Greater Manchester NHS CATS, said: “We serve a population of around 2.5 million and our endoscopy team complete on average approximately 800 slots per month. Around two thirds require one slot and the other third require two slots, such as colonoscopies. Across all specialties the service currently sees around 6,000 patients per month.
“We welcome the work the World Gastroenterology Organisation is doing to raise awareness of digestive problems because the sooner people seek help the sooner we are able to diagnose and treat their problems.
“Our team also detect around one cancer every day however the vast majority of our diagnoses do not involve cancer at all. We are very proud of our service, not least because of the positive feedback we receive – a patient wrote recently that we had ‘worked brilliantly hard’ during his treatment with us.
“The great advantage of our clinics is that they are often closer to patients’ homes and we can usually see people more quickly than is usual in other parts of the health service. We complete 95 per cent of procedures within 28 days – the national average is 42 days.”
More information about World Digestive Health Day, which is an initiative by the World Gastroenterology Organisation, can be found here (http://www.worldgastroenterology.org/