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The Shape of Gastroenterology Services in the UK in 2019

Updated on: 04 Apr 2020   First published on 19 Feb 2020

The annual BSG Clinical Services and Standards (CSSC) survey is sent out to all gastroenterology units in the UK. The aim is to produce a snapshot of what services look like around the country on an annual basis to provide longitudinal data, hopefully showing improvements with time.  It is hoped that this will act as a driver for local service improvements.

Key Findings

  • There were slightly more responses in 2019 compared to 2018, 101 vs 92.
  • Average number of gastroenterologists per hospital is 8.8, with little change compared to 2018.
  • There is an average of 1 Consultant vacancy in each hospital.
  • 87% of hospitals provide out of hours endoscopy for acute upper GI bleeding, slightly higher than 80% in 2018.
  • In 23% of hospitals, gastroenterologists fully participate in unselected medical take, which is a similar figure compared to 2018.
  • 74% of hospitals provide a gastroenterologist of the day/week/month service.
  • More hospitals are providing FIT testing in 2019, 55% compared to 34% in 2018.
  • More hospitals are providing weekend endoscopy lists and outpatient clinics compared to 2018, e.g. endoscopy lists are provided on Saturdays in 61% and Sundays in 35%.
  • More patients with alcohol use disorders are admitted under gastroenterology compared to 2018; 36% vs 28%.
  • There were some differences between university teaching hospitals and district general hospitals: University hospitals were less likely to have no applicants for posts, less involved in the acute unselected take but more had a gastroenterologist of the day/week/month service; more likely to introduce FIT testing, offered more weekend endoscopy lists, clinics and specialist rounds; and have separate liver and luminal teams for inpatients.


  • Dr Tony C. K. Tham MB BCh BAO, MD, FRCP, FRCPI, Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, Belfast
  • Dr Andrew C. Douds MB, BS, MD, FRCP, CCST, Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn
  • Dr Rupert A. J. Ransford MBBS, MRCGP, MD, FRCP, Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, County Hospital, Hereford
  • Simone Cort, BSG Officer, CSSC
  • Jane Munday, Data Analyst

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