Before your Endoscopy procedure

You may find it helpful to think about some parts of your endoscopy procedure before agreeing a date and time to attend one of our units.

Our Endoscopy Booking team are located at Lincoln, Grantham and Boston Hospitals. We aim to make the appointments as convenient and simple as possible, and we do our best to accommodate your particular needs.

When your referral is received the endoscopy booking team will ensure you are added to the relevant waiting list, and (if applicable) will request your bowel preparation to be sent to you. They will contact you directly when your appointment is ready to be booked. Our team collaborate Trust wide, and work hard to provide all patients with the choice necessary to book a successful appointment for each individual. The information we need is usually included on the endoscopy referral, however sometimes it is necessary to confirm details or ask further questions to ensure we are meeting all of your needs.

We will always try to contact you by telephone in order to discuss the appointment with you and agree a time and date which is convenient for your procedure. If we are not able to speak to you we will send a letter with our contact details as well as leaving answer machine messages (if possible).

If you are a Bowel Cancer Screening patient, there may be some differences in your referral process. If you have any queries, please contact the BCSP department.

Around five days before your procedure one of our nursing team will call to complete a pre-assessment. This is not at a pre-arranged time, therefore if we are not able to speak to you we will try again before the procedure date. This assessment includes questions about your current medications and past medical history and is an opportunity for you to ask an endoscopy trained nurse about any concerns you may have.

We offer a range of procedures at our endoscopy units and our services are always in high demand. If your circumstances change and you are no longer able to attend your agreed appointment, please contact us directly so that we are able to re-schedule your appointment and release your existing appointment to other patients. Some procedures are performed less often than others which may mean a delay in your treatment if you are not able to attend.

If you do not attend (DNA) your appointment without contacting us, we may inform the clinician who referred you and discharge you from our care unless otherwise instructed.

If you are attending for a procedure at one of our endoscopy units and have diabetes our booking team will arrange your procedure at a suitable time. Advice on how to manage your diabetes before a procedure is included in all of the procedure information leaflets.

If you are taking any blood thinning medications the clinician who referred you for the procedure will usually have asked you to continue or halt these medications. If you have not discussed these medications, please be reassured that you will have the chance in the nurses pre-assessment call. We will let you know after your procedure what you need to do about restarting your medication. If you do not receive any instruction please contact us.

It is important for our endoscopy units to know in advance if you have a pacemaker or ICD and this information is usually included in your referral. We will let you know at the time of booking your appointments if there are any special instructions regarding this.

Before you have your endoscopy procedure you will be asked to sign a consent form. You should receive your consent form with the information leaflets and letters confirming your appointments sent in the post. Please read all of the information in the leaflets and consent form. If you do not receive the relevant information, please contact the endoscopy booking team or click here to see a choice of information online.

If you, or someone you care for does not have the capacity to sign the consent form it will normally be noted on the referral and an alternative form completed with the referring clinician. If you have any concerns about the consent form please let the pre-assessment nurse know when they call.

Before having a colonoscopy procedure you will need to take a bowel preparation medication to completely clear your bowel. This is a very important part of the procedure as it ensures your bowel is clear so that the lining can be well seen. Sometimes procedures may need to be repeated if this has not worked properly. Please see the links to the right for the detailed bowel preparation instructions.

There are several options to help keep you comfortable during the procedure.

For a gastroscopy, your throat may be sprayed with a local anaesthetic spray which numbs the back of your throat. It has an effect very much like a dental injection. The procedure normally takes less than 15 minutes and the throat spray should wear off after around 60 minutes.

‘Gas and Air’ (Nitrous Oxide) is also available for pain relief. This is a gas that you breathe through a mouthpiece and can be used as well as or instead of medication into your vein. If you have Nitrous Oxide you will need to wait for at least 30 minutes before you can return to normal activities such as driving. If you would like more information please ask the pre-assessment nurse when they call.

Another type of medication is intravenous conscious sedation, which is given through a cannula (small plastic tube) into a vein in your hand or arm. This will not make you go to sleep but should help you to feel more relaxed. It is important that you are awake for the procedure so that you are able to follow simple instructions.

If you wish to start the procedure without intravenous medication you may do so, as it can be given part way through the test if you feel you need it. Because it is given into the vein it works within a few minutes.

Please note if you have sedation into the vein, you will need someone to accompany you home and stay for at least four hours and if possible overnight. You are not allowed to take part in the following activities for 24 hours afterwards;

  • Drive a vehicle
  • Go to work
  • Look after children on your own
  • Operate heavy/dangerous machinery
  • Drink alcohol
  • Sign legally binding documents