How long will it take?
A Gastroscopy procedure takes approximately 15 minutes; a flexible sigmoidoscopy 15 minutes, a colonoscopy takes approximately 30 minutes.
Will I be unconscious?
All Endoscopy procedures are by default conscience procedures which include a mild conscious sedative. However if a qualified medical Nurse or doctors deems you suitable for a General anesthetic Endoscopy procedure this will be specified, this is an unconscious procedure.
Can I bring a friend?
Yes, though they will need to wait in the waiting area by the entrance of the department. Please do not bring unsupervised children into the unit as staff are unable to safely care for them.
Can I go to work the next day?
Yes, you will be able to go to work the next day, and carry on as usual.
Will I have to share the ward with the opposite sex?
No, both Endoscopy units at St. Helier and Epsom hospital have dedicated single sex wards. The waiting room is shared by both sexes but once you are admitted into the unit your pathway through the ward will be with other patients of the same gender. This is to maintain your privacy and comfort.
I need access to assisted/disabled toilets, will these be available?
Yes, we have facilities at both Endoscopy units at St. Helier hospital and Epsom hospital. A nurse will also be available if you require further assistance.
Can I take my regular medication with my Bowel Preparation/laxative?
You should follow the guidance of your referring doctor. If are still unsure, please call the Endoscopy ward. If your procedure is being done at St. Helier call 020 8296 3114. If you procedure is being completed at Epsom, please call 01372 735 945
What if my bowel preparation hasn’t worked after 3 hours of taking the laxative?
Please be patient. We anticipate that the laxative will work within a few hours as outlined in the manufacturer’s guidelines, but this can sometimes take a little longer depending on your age, diet, if you have diabetes and whether you suffer from constipation. Please try to consume the recommended amount of oral fluids as instructed with your bowel preparation. If by the morning of your appointment you have had no result, please contact us for advice. Once it does start working please stay close to a toilet as sometimes no warning may be given.
If my symptoms have stopped before the colonoscopy, should I still come for the test?
Yes. It is important that you still come for the test. Your doctor has organised this test to ensure you have no problems in your large bowel. Although the symptoms may have gone, it is important to have a look to ensure all is clear.
Will it hurt?
You may feel some discomfort because of the air/gas that is pumped into the large bowel so that the Endoscopist can view the lining adequately. However it should not hurt. A sedative is available to you should you wish to have one. This will reduce anxiety and promote relaxation but does not put you to sleep. It is called conscious sedation.
Can I drive home after the Endoscopy procedure?
This depends on whether you will have sedation and/or Etonox, if you do have sedation you will not be allowed to drive home and must arrange for someone to accompany you and drive you home. Medication given during the test will prohibit you from driving for 24 hours after the examination. Please do not plan to take public transport home. If you are unable to arrange transportation we can arrange a taxi to take you home however you are responsible for the fare. You will need a responsible adult to pick you up and travel home with you and stay with you for at least 12 hours. If you do not have sedation, then you are allowed to drive home.
Will I get my results on the day?
Yes. Upon completion of the Endoscopy procedure the findings will be discussed with you. However any samples will need to be sent to the laboratory for testing and this this can take up to three weeks. A copy of the colonoscopy report will be given to you on discharge and a copy will be sent to your GP. If required, a follow up appointment will either be given to you before you leave the Endoscopy Unit or sent to you in the post. We may inform you of your biopsy results by a letter or when you are seen at your follow up clinic appointment.
Travelling to the hospital? Can I use public transport? If I drive, can I park on-site?
Parking spaces are limited. Take a ticket when you enter the car park, then pay at the machine located at the car park prior to returning to your car. The charges can be found on our website: www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/parking-at-our-hospitals. This is payable in cash (coins or notes) and debit or credit cards.
There are a number of car parking concessions, details of which can be found at the web address above including the form to apply for these. You can also receive the form from the car park office, which is next to the main visitor’s car park. Once complete, please return it to the car park office.
Please note you may only use public transport or drive yourself if you have not had sedation. If you are having sedation, please ensure you arrange alternative transport home following your procedure.