A discussion of the British Society of Gastroenterology survey of emergency gastroenterology workload
An electronic survey of 188 acute NHS hospitals was carried out to assess the provision of out-of-hours services for gastrointestinal emergencies in England. The response rate was 167/188 (89%) for the main questionnaire and 157/188 (84%) for a supplementary questionnaire. The survey revealed that the majority of gastroenterologists (135/157, 86%) participate in acute general medicine. A rota for out-of-hours endoscopy was in place in only 82/167 (49%) of hospitals. Trained nurse endoscopy assistance was available in 51/82 (62%) of those hospitals with a formal rota. Two thirds of gastroenterologists were telephoned up to five times each month for advice when not on call; 64% felt their emergency endoscopy service provision was unsatisfactory and 38% thought it was unsafe. This paper concludes that there is serious under provision of services for patients presenting with gastrointestinal emergencies in England.