National accreditation for Peninsula endoscopy service

A purpose-designed endoscopy facility recently opened at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in Plymouth has achieved the coveted Joint Advisory Group (JAG) accreditation at the first attempt.

JAG accreditation is the formal recognition that an endoscopy service has demonstrated that it has the competence to deliver against the criteria set out in the JAG standards. It means that Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre will be able to accept even more patient referrals from local NHS trusts and further afield.

As well as achieving accreditation first time without the need to carry out further improvements before accreditation was granted, the Peninsula endoscopy service received congratulations from JAG assessors for the methods it uses to meet standards, the high quality of patient information leaflets and the pre-colonoscopy process, which includes an outpatient review by a clinician for consent/assessment and a nurse for bowel preparation discussion. The Peninsula endoscopy team also endeavours at these outpatient sessions to provide patients with the dates available for them to have their procedures.

Mark White, Hospital Director at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, commented: “We are delighted to have achieved JAG accreditation at the first attempt, and with so many elements of our service gaining congratulations from the assessors. It is very unusual for a new service like ours to achieve JAG accreditation without a request for further improvement or information, and my congratulations go to our team for this superb achievement.”

He added: ““Gastroscopy and colonoscopy investigations are effective tools which help in the diagnosis of a wide range of conditions, and more and more patients are being referred to us for such investigations than ever before. Our endoscopy service is comparatively new and operates to the highest standards, using the latest techniques such as trans-nasal endoscopy, where a thinner endoscope is passed through the nose to investigate the stomach for greater patient comfort. Our JAG accreditation reflects this and gives reassurance to NHS GPs and trusts who may wish to refer their patients to us, and to patients themselves.”

Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre welcomed its first NHS patients in April 2005. Tens of thousands of patients have received top quality care at the hospital for orthopaedic surgery (minor and major), hernia repair and gall bladder removal, cataract treatment, endoscopy and diagnostic imaging (such as X-rays).

The hospital was the first of its kind to achieve an overall ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission and continues to treat NHS patients.

More information is available by visiting www.peninsulatreatmentcentre.nhs.uk

5 signs you may need an endoscopy

An endoscopy is when a tube with a camera is inserted into your body through your mouth, nose or anus to help identify and diagnose the cause of a variety of symptoms.

Why might you need an endoscopy? Here are five signs to look out for and to discuss with your GP:

Stomach pain – if you are experiencing pain in your abdomen which is unusual or which lasts for more than a few hours, it could be symptomatic of a worrying or serious condition. You should see your GP who may refer you for an endoscopy procedure to diagnose the cause of the problem

Blood in your stools – this may be the sign of an infection or bowel cancer, which if caught early can be treated. If you notice any blood in your stool or when you wipe yourself after going to the toilet you should see your GP who may suggest one of the endoscopy procedures described below

Difficulty swallowing – also called dysphagia, this can be caused by a number of conditions ranging from an infection to cancer of the oesophagus. If symptoms persist you should see your GP quickly and discuss with them if an endoscopy is required

Acid reflux/heartburn – we have all suffered heartburn at some point and antacids help, but if you are experiencing heartburn or acid reflux regularly or over a long period of time it may be caused by an underlying condition. Long term acid reflux can also lead to Barrett’s oesophagus, where the abnormal growth of cells causes blockages. If your experience of acid reflux or heartburn is long term it should be discussed with your GP who may refer you for an endoscopy to investigate the cause of the problem

Irregular bowel movements, long term constipation or diarrhoea – sometimes these symptoms can be caused by a change in diet or lifestyle and may settle, but if you experience them for a long period of time they may be signs of something more serious such as IBD, colon cancer or an underactive thyroid. Speak to your GP who may think it is appropriate for you to have an endoscopic investigation.

Whatever your symptoms, always speak to your GP if you’re worried.

Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre offers a range of endoscopy procedures including:

  • Colonoscopy, used to examine your large and small bowel;
  • Sigmoidoscopy, the examination of the large intestine using a rigid endoscope;
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy, where a flexible endoscope is used to look at the furthest part of the colon;
  • Gastroscopy, where an endoscope is passed through the mouth and throat to check the stomach;
  • Trans-nasal endoscopy, where a thinner endoscope is passed through the nose to investigate the stomach

If your GP thinks you need an endoscopy, you can ask to be referred to Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre – it is part of your choice for NHS treatment and care.