(1) The number of endoscopic examinations performed is rising. Epidemiological data and the workload of well developed units show that annual requirements per head of population are approaching: Upper gastrointestinal 1 in 100 Flexible sigmoidoscopy 1 in 500 Colonoscopy 1 in 500 ERCP 1 in 2000 (2) Open access endoscopy to general practitioners is desirable and increasingly sought. For a district general hospital serving a population of 250,000, this workload entails about 3500 procedures annually, performed during 10 half day routine sessions plus emergency work. (3) High standards of training and experience are needed by all staff, who must work in purpose built accommodation designed to promote efficient and safe practice. (4) The endoscopy unit should be adjacent to day care facilities and near the x ray department. There should be easy access to wards. (5) An endoscopy unit needs at least two endoscopy rooms; a fully ventilated cleaning/disinfection area; rooms for patient reception, preparation, and recovery; and accommodation for administration, storage, and staff amenities. (6) The service should be consultant based. At least 10 clinical sessions are required, made up of six or more consultant sessions and two to four clinical assistant, hospital practitioner, or staff specialist sessions. Each consultant should be expected to commit at least two sessions weekly to endoscopy. Extra consultant sessions may be needed to provide an efficient service. (7) A specially trained nursing sister (grade G or H) and five other endoscopy nurses are needed to care for the patients; their work may be supplemented by care assistants. (8) A new post of endoscopy department assistant (analogous to an operating department assistant) is proposed to maintain and prepare instruments, and to give technical assistance during procedures. (9) A full time secretary should be employed. Records, appointments, and audit should be computer based. (10) ERCP needs the collaboration of an interventional radiologist working with high quality x ray equipment in a specially prepared radiology screening room. This facility may need to serve more than one hospital. (11) A gastrointestinal measurement laboratory can conveniently be combined with the endoscopy unit. In some hospitals one or more gastrointestinal measurement technicians may staff this laboratory. (12) An endoscopy unit is a service department analogous to a radiology department. It needs an annual budget.
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