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3 in 1 clinics being trialled in the community for patients with stomach and bowel problems

26/01/2018

A new 3 in 1 Gastroenterology Clinic is being trialled in Leicestershire for patients experiencing stomach and bowel problems, so they can be assessed, diagnosed and booked in for treatment quicker than ever before.

The clinics in Melton mean patients living in the area no longer have to travel many times and long distances to a large city hospital to be seen by a consultant and pre-assessment nurses.

Gastroenterology is an area of medicine that treats people experiencing problems with the stomach, bowel and digestive system and need further medical investigation to find the cause of the problem.

Patients will have two outpatient appointments. The clinics provide a pre-assessment service on the day of the first outpatient appointment. This means the patient will have all the necessary tests - including a blood test, and health assessment including blood pressure - prior to the actual procedure, called an Endoscopy, which will take place at the second appointment.  

An endoscopy is a procedure where the inside of the body is examined using an instrument called an endoscope. An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube that has a camera at one end. Images of the inside of your body are relayed to a television screen. The camera can be inserted into the body through a natural opening, such as the mouth and down the throat, or through the bottom.

Once it is decided that the patient attending the clinic needs an endoscopy, they will be given an appointment time and date for the endoscopy before leaving the clinic. Previously patients would have had to make trips to three or four separate appointments before the procedure could be booked.

The patient will also be given a bowel preparation kit and supporting information before leaving the clinic with their appointment date as well as have the opportunity to ask questions of the consultant or nurse ahead of their procedure. Previously patients would not have had such direct contact and support.

If a patient has treatment in a community hospital as an outpatient or day-case, this will be arranged by the LLR Alliance. The LLR Alliance is a unique partnership of health organisations in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The Alliance is designed to offer patients more choice about when and where they receive day-case and outpatient treatment and is helping to drive forward local plans to deliver more care in the community, rather than in the large city hospital sites.

Helen Mather, Director of Alliance Partnership Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, said:

“Internal procedures like an Endoscopy can be very worrying for patients, especially if they have never needed one before. Giving them the opportunity to speak to a doctor or nurse with all the information and a date set for the procedure before they even leave the clinic can provide reassurance and comfort for the patient and their family.

“The pre-assessment part of the service also helps us to find out whether the patient is appropriate for an Endoscopy or whether some other form of treatment would be more suitable.”

An evaluation of the trials will be carried out with patients and staff in March and, if successful, the services will be rolled out to other areas across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland in a phased approach.  

To find out more about the LLR Alliance, visit: http://llralliance.nhs.uk/about.

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