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Auckland DHB Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Public Service

Description

What is Gastroenterology?

Gastroenterology is the branch of medicine that looks at diseases of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach, small and large intestines (bowel), liver, gallbladder and pancreas. 

The oesophagus is the tube that joins your mouth with your stomach. It is a muscular tube that contracts to push the food through when you swallow.

The stomach is where food is broken down by acid and emptied into your intestines. The stomach has special cells lining its wall to protect it from these acids.

The intestines consist of the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum and ileum – different sections of small intestine) and the large intestine (colon).  As food passes through the small intestine, nutrients are broken down and absorbed.  When it passes into the colon, water is absorbed.  The waste that is left is passed as faeces (poo).

The liver is roughly the size of a football and is on your right side just under your ribs. It stores vitamins, sugar and iron which are used by cells in the body for energy. It also clears the body of waste products and drugs, produces substances that are used to help blood clot and aid the immune system, and produces bile which aids in digestion.

 
The pancreas is an elongated organ that lies in the back of the mid-abdomen. It is responsible for producing digestive juices and certain hormones, including insulin, the main hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar.
 
A gastroenterologist is a doctor specialising in the field of medicine which involves these closely related organs.
 
The Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Auckland City Hospital and Greenlane Clinical Centre provides services to the Auckland District Health Board (DHB) catchment area via GP referral and tertiary services via specialist referral from other DHBs.
 
Almost all outpatient clinic appointments are run through the ground floor at Greenlane Clinical Centre with a minority being held at Auckland City Hospital, Level 6, Support Block.
 
Routine outpatient gastroscopy and colonoscopy procedures are carried out through the Endoscopy Suite on Level 2 at Greenlane Clinical Centre. This unit has a waiting room with reception, a small prep area, 1 procedure room and a 9 bed recovery.
 
For information about the Greenlane Clinical Centre location please click here.
 
The Endoscopy Suite at Auckland City Hospital is reserved for acute inpatient work and urgent, or more complicated, outpatient procedures. This unit has a 10 bed recovery and 3 procedure rooms.
 
There is a dedicated team of nurses who work with the doctors over both sites to ensure patients are ready for their procedures. They are available over the phone to answer questions prior to appointments about prepping instructions, informed consent and medication information. 
 
Janice Duxfield is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) who runs Hepatitis treatment clinics. Patients are referred to her after assessment in consultant clinics. Janice also takes care of PEG changes. Referrals for PEG changes can come direct from the patient, rest home, dietitians, caregivers or GPs.

Consultants

Hours

Gastroenterology Clinics are held at the Greenlane Clinical Centre (GCC) from Monday to Thursday. All Gastro clinics are run from Reception D and E on the Ground Floor, GCC. Clinics run between 8am - 4.30pm.

GCC endoscopy procedures are performed in the Endoscopy Unit located on Level 2, Reception N, GCC.

Auckland City Hospital (ACH) procedures are performed in the Endoscopy Unit located on Level 6, Support Building, ACH.

Referral Expectations

Your GP will refer you to our department if they are concerned that you have problems that require a specialist opinion regarding the diagnosis or treatment of the condition. 
Outpatient clinics are held at Greenlane Clinical Centre. Waiting times for clinics range from 1-6 months depending on urgency, which is assessed from the letter we receive from your GP.
Before coming to our clinic, you may be asked to undergo tests such as blood tests, urine tests or stool/faeces tests (you collect a sample of your urine or bowel motion for analysis).
Clinic appointments last 30 minutes for new patients and 15 minutes for follow up appointments. A history of your symptoms will be taken as well as a review of any medications you are on (please bring these with you).  You will then be examined which may involve, depending on your complaints, a rectal examination.  This involves the insertion of the doctor’s finger or a tube into your bottom to examine the inside.
You may be referred on for some of the following radiology tests, depending on your condition: ultrasound scan, CT scan or MRI.
 
If you have been referred for a routine gastroscopy or colonoscopy at the Greenlane Clinical Centre, you may expect to be between 1 - 3 hours and will need to be picked up from the Endoscopy Suite on discharge.
Where possible, diabetics will be given morning appointments for procedures.
 
For information about the Greenlane Clinical Centre location please click here.

Procedures / Treatments

  • Gastroscopy

    This is a procedure which allows the doctor to see inside your oesophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) and examine the lining directly. … More

  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP)

    A flexible tube with a tiny video camera attached (endoscope) is inserted through the mouth into the stomach and small intestine while you are under sedation (you have been given medication to make you drowsy).… More

  • Colonoscopy

    This is a procedure which allows the doctor to see inside your large bowel and examine the surfaces directly and take biopsies (samples of tissue) if needed.  Treatment of conditions can also be undertaken.… More

  • Liver Biopsy

    The best way to establish what type of liver disease is present and the extent of the disease, is a biopsy.… More

  • Hepatitis

    This is inflammation of the liver, commonly caused by viruses but can have many other causes.… More

  • Cirrhosis

    Cirrhosis is the term used to describe a diseased liver that has been badly scarred, usually due to many years of injury.… More

  • Peptic Ulcers

    Peptic ulcers are sores or eroded areas that form in the lining of the digestive tract.… More

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

    There are two types of IBD, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.  In these conditions, the immune system attacks the lining of the colon causing inflammation and ulceration, bleeding and diarrhoea.  In ulcerative colitis this only involves the large intestine, whereas in Crohn’s disease areas within the entire intestine can be… More

  • More Information...

    Further extensive information regarding procedures can be obtained via the ADHB - Gastroenterology website - http://www.adhb.govt.nz/gastroenterologyhepatology… More

Contact Details

Auckland City Hospital

Central Auckland

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Greenlane Clinical Centre

Central Auckland

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This page was last updated at 11:16AM on July 3, 2017. This information is reviewed and edited by Auckland DHB Gastroenterology and Hepatology.