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Gastroenterology

Fast assessment and treatment for digestive system concerns

A Consultant Gastroenterologist investigates, diagnoses, and treats problems of the digestive system.

Your digestive system is highly complex, responsible for breaking the food you eat into smaller parts so that it can be absorbed into the body and used by it. It is also responsible for the removal of waste products, expelling them as faeces.

If any part of the digestive system stops working properly, whether due to damage or disease, it can have a significant impact on your health and may cause worrying symptoms such as abdominal pain, heartburn, or rectal bleeding.

At BMI The Sloane Hospital in Beckenham, Kent, highly experienced Consultant Gastroenterologists provide expert assessment and diagnosis for a number of digestive conditions and symptoms for people aged 18+. They would be delighted to help you too.

Why not book your private Gastroenterology appointment now? 

The digestive tract, also known as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, runs from mouth to anus and is comprised of:

  • Upper GI – mouth, oesophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine
  • Lower GI (Colorectal) - small intestine, large intestine, anus, and rectum 
  • HBP (Hepato Pancreato Biliary) – liver, pancreas and gallbladder 

People book a private Gastroenterology appointment for a number of reasons. Among the common complaints are:

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Bloating 
  • Indigestion 
  • Heartburn 
  • Nausea and/or vomiting 
  • Blood in vomit 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Constipation 
  • Altered bowel habits 
  • Rectal bleeding  
  • Acid reflux / heartburn 
  • Jaundice (yellow discolouration of skin) 

If you have started experiencing any of these symptoms and they are concerning you, it is sensible to consult a doctor for advice. Many people will see their GP for advice first, who will then often refer to us for further investigation.

The incredible complexity of the digestive system means that many conditions have very similar symptoms, which makes an accurate diagnosis crucial to receiving the best treatment.

Some of the common conditions that can affect the digestive system include:

  • IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) – Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis 
  • Dyspepsia / Indigestion
  • Diverticulitis – inflammation of a small pocket (diverticula) in the lining of the intestine
  • Polyps - small fleshy raised areas. These may eventually become cancerous if left untreated 
  • Gallstones – formation of small stones in the gall bladder
  • Liver abscess
  • GERD/GORD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) 
  • Fatty liver disease 
  • Cancer - oesophageal, bowel, liver, bile duct or pancreatic 

Early diagnosis of any of these conditions is important, as prompt treatment may prevent more serious problems developing. If you do have any concerns, why not contact us to book your private appointment today? We are here to help. 

When you first meet your Consultant Gastroenterologist at BMI The Sloane Hospital, they will take a medical history and will ask you in detail about your symptoms. They will want to know things like:

  • The symptoms you have
  • When these symptoms first appeared
  • Whether your symptoms have been getting more noticeable/severe
  • Whether any specific food, drink or activities make your symptoms worse
  • Whether you are currently having any other treatment 

A physical examination may also be carried out.

In many cases, it will be found that your symptoms are not a cause for concern, and no treatment will be needed.

In other cases, additional tests and investigations may be needed. These might include blood tests, liver function tests, MRI scan, CT scan and ultrasound, all of which are easily arranged for you when required.

Often the most helpful way to investigate the GI tract is with endoscopy. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light at one end. The camera displays a real-time image on an external screen.

Depending on where you’re experiencing your symptoms, you may need to have a Gastroscopy, Colonoscopy, Flexible Sigmoidoscopy or Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to investigate.

If any of these are required, they will be arranged for you at the earliest opportunity. 

  • A gastroscopy examines the upper part of the GI tract. The endoscope is moved through the mouth, down the oesophagus and into the stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). 
  • A colonoscopy looks at the lower part of the GI tract. The endoscope is inserted into the rectum and moved along the large intestine and into the small intestine.
  • A flexible sigmoidoscopy looks only at the left side of the bowel and is often used to examine rectal bleeding or haemorrhoids (piles). The endoscope is inserted through the anus and moved into the lower part of your bowel. 
  • At BMI The Sloane Hospital, we can also arrange Video Capsule Endoscopy (VCE). This involves swallowing a small capsule, which is about the size of a large vitamin. The capsule contains a tiny camera, light source, battery, and transmitter. Once swallowed, the capsule takes pictures of your bowel as it passes through the GI tract. (The capsule will eventually be passed when you empty your bowels.)  
  • An ERCP* investigates the bile ducts, gall bladder and pancreas, and can be used to treat blockages within the bile ducts. These blockages are usually caused by a stone, which can often be removed by making a small cut at the lower end of the duct. Occasionally the problem may be caused by a tumour, in which case the obstruction can usually be relieved by placing a stent (a thin tube) into the duct.  

    (* Please note that ERCPs are not carried out at BMI The Sloane Hospital. They will be arranged for you off-site by your Consultant.) 

Whichever of these investigations you have, a small tissue sample (biopsy) may be taken for further analysis under a microscope.

Endoscopic procedures are normally well tolerated, but they can be a bit uncomfortable. A numbing throat spray and sedative injection can both be helpful during a gastroscopy. For a colonoscopy, you will normally be offered an injection of a sedative and a pain-killing medication. Some people prefer to avoid the sedation and use ‘gas and air’ (nitrous oxide) instead.

Once the results of any tests are back, your Consultant will discuss them with you. If referral to another specialist is needed (for example, if surgery is needed to manage the symptoms of Crohn’s disease), this will be arranged for you.

If you have any questions or concerns, your Consultant will always be very happy to talk these through with you in your private appointment. 

Many people are referred to a Consultant Gastroenterologist at BMI The Sloane Hospital by a GP, another healthcare professional or a private medical insurance provider. Others self-refer to avoid delay.

We treat patients with private medical insurance and those using one of our self-pay options.

When you visit BMI The Sloane Hospital, you will benefit from:

Fast, simple access to an expert – GI symptoms can often be concerning to experience, and you will want to avoid long waiting lists and delays in being seen. We can arrange a private appointment for you with an experienced Consultant Gastroenterologist at an earlier date so that your symptoms can be investigated, diagnosed, and treated sooner. 

Consultant-led care, always – Your Consultant will oversee every aspect of your care, and you will always see the same Consultant when you visit, ensuring excellent continuity of care. You will never see a more junior doctor. 

Appointments to suit you – With private Gastroenterology appointments available throughout the week, including evenings and weekends, it is easy to book an appointment for a time that is convenient for you.

An experienced team – Your Consultant works closely with specialists in other areas such as General Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthetics and Oncology. This helps ensure you will always see the most appropriate specialist for your specific needs.

Recommended by our patients – In an independent survey, 96.3% of patients said they were likely or highly likely to recommend us to family and friends.

Free parking on-site – Our car park is free for patients and visitors and has 20 spaces.

For peace of mind and known expert care, please contact us to book your private Gastroenterology appointment now. We look forward to welcoming you to BMI The Sloane Hospital and helping you to get the support you need as soon as possible. 

Specialists offering Gastroenterology

Mr Rajab Kerwat

Consultant Laparoscopic & Gastrointestinal Surgeon

MBBCh, FRCS(Eng), FRCSEd, FRCS (Gen Surg)

BMI The Blackheath Hospital 2 more BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital BMI The Sloane Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Midhat Siddiqui

Consultant Surgeon

FRCS(Eng, Edin;Glasg), MBChb, FRCS(Gen Surg)

BMI The Blackheath Hospital 2 more BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital BMI The Sloane Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Shamsi El-Hasani

Consultant General Surgeon

MB ChB DS CABS FRCS CCST

BMI The Blackheath Hospital 2 more BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital BMI The Sloane Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Tarun Singhal

Consultant Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgeon

MBBS, MRCS, MS, DNB, FRCSEd, FRCSEng, FRCS (General Surgery)

BMI The Blackheath Hospital 2 more BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital BMI The Sloane Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr John Hunt

Consultant Gastroenterologist

MD, FRCP(UK), MB BS

BMI Shirley Oaks Hospital 1 more BMI The Sloane Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Howard Curtis

Consultant Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist

MBBS, FRCP (UK)

BMI The Blackheath Hospital 1 more BMI The Sloane Hospital

View profile Book online

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