The British Society of Gastroenterology has called for all hospitals in the UK to offer a 24-hour gastroenterology service, including round-the-clock emergency endoscopy.
The call comes after a UK-wide audit from the society revealed that nearly half of UK hospitals do not provide an out-of-hours endoscopy service, despite 60% of acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding episodes occurring out of ‘normal’ working hours.
According to the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG), more than 700 lives could be saved each year if all hospitals offered a 24-hour service.
Addressing a meeting at Number 11, Downing Street yesterday to raise awareness of gastroenterological conditions, BSG president, professor Chris Hawkey, said: ‘Our audit has shown that about 80,000 patients a year are admitted with gastrointestinal bleeding, which has an 8% mortality rate.
‘Yet only 55% of trusts at the moment provide a comprehensive out-of-hours GI bleeding service – we need to get this to 100%,’ he added.
The BSG is also calling for six new standards of care for patients with inflammatory bowel disease to be implemented by all UK commissioners by October 2010.