18 Week Support Gastroenterology services includes general outpatient clinics and endoscopy. The service is led by Dr Matthew Banks who will work with the local clinicians to agree the clinical aspects of the service specifications such as exclusion criteria, referral pathways and local management plans.
Patients who attend our clinics for an initial consultation with a Consultant Gastroenterologist are asked for details of their symptoms and undergo a thorough examination. We then decide if they need any more tests or treatments such as blood tests, radiological scans or endoscopy. We can see both first attendance and follow up cases in our clinics and our consultant will follow all local referral pathways to ensure that those patients with well-defined or complex gastrointestinal conditions are referred to the appropriate specialist service. We have streamlined our services to enable us to take ownership of the entire patient pathway from first attendance through to endoscopy, follow up and discharge as appropriate. As such, only those patients who require complex management would be referred to the local clinicians. Our team of gastroenterologists manage all other aspects of upper and lower GI disorders including dyspepsia, GORD, IBS, gastric ulcers, swallowing difficulties to name a few examples.
18 Week Support has a robust system for managing all admin that is associated with each patient episode, that is, approving clinic letters, reviewing results of investigations and ensuring all outcomes are communicated to the patient and their general practitioner. We have also introduced virtual follow up and virtual histology clinics into the service with great success.
Our endoscopy services have been developed to support trusts with 2WW (urgent) and routine referrals as well as surveillance cases. We also offer bowel cancer screening services and support with enhanced sedation (Propofol) lists. We provide all the specialist staff required including the BCSP consultant, SSP and in the case of Propofol lists, the consultant anaesthetist, ODPs and specialist recovery nurses.
We can take ownership of Direct Access and Rapid Access endoscopy referrals by working with the local clinical leads to agree strong governance for the management of these patients. Typically, they are offered follow up appointments in 18 Week Support led clinics. If a patient requires complex management in cases such as a new IBD diagnosis or a cancer diagnosis, these patients are referred to a designated local clinician.
"Everyone was really clear about what was happening and put me at ease."