Appointments, assessments and patient pathways

We provide outpatient care for patients referred by their general practitioner (GP) with all types of bowel problems (colorectal). Our aim is that you leave the clinic as reassured as possible. We want your visit to be a friendly and caring experience.

When you arrive

When you arrive you will be asked to sit in the waiting area. There may be a wait as clinic appointments often don’t run to time. When you are seen you will have all the time you need. A nurse will call your name and you will be taken to an examination room.

You may be seen by a nurse, a physician associate or a doctor who will ask you some questions about your medical details. They will then ask you to loosen your clothing so that he/she can examine your abdomen. Sometimes, a rectal examination may be needed. Your healthcare professional will discuss this with you.  After the examination, you will be advised about any further tests that may need to be done.

Tests, assessments and procedures

You may be required to have a rigid sigmoidoscopy (a look into the lower part of your bowel with a small scope) while you are in the clinic.  This procedure may cause some slight discomfort but it can help the doctor diagnose the problem.  You may also be required to have a blood test.

Other tests or procedures which may be arranged for you to have on another visit:

You may be required to have one or more of the following procedures:

  • Colonoscopy
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • PET scan
  • Ultrasound scan

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy allows the doctors to look directly at the colon (large bowel) through a colonoscope to check whether any disease is present and will help us find the cause of your bowel symptoms.  A colonoscopy is usually carried out under sedation. A colonoscope is a thin flexible tube with a camera on the end which is inserted through your rectum (back passage) into your colon.  During the procedure, photographs and tissue biopsies may be taken.  These tissue samples are sent to the laboratory for further examination.  This is usually a painless procedure.

Where do these take place?

Eastern services

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford) 

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford)

Barrack Road

Exeter

EX2 5DW

 

Northern Services

Gemini Suite, Level 0

North Devon District Hospital

Raleigh Park

Barnstaple

Devon

EX31 4JB

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A Flexible Sigmoidoscopy allows the doctor to look directly at the lining of the bowel this means we can check whether any disease is present and will help us find the cause of your bowel symptoms.  A tiny camera on a flexible tube will be carefully passed through the rectum (back passage) and into the large bowel.  Sometimes a small amount of tissue is taken (biopsy) which is sent to the laboratory for further examination.  Having a flexible sigmoidoscopy is not painful, but some people may find it uncomfortable and sedation or Entonox gas (gas and air) may be given if needed.

Results and next steps

Depending on your appointment and assessment, you may have your results on the same day. You may also receive these via a letter, a phone call or at a follow-up appointment in person or on the phone.  

What about further treatment?

The doctor will advise you if you need treatment.  You will be advised which treatment is best for you and information about that treatment will be given to you.  You may not require any further treatment and the doctor may not need to see you again.

 

Where can I get help?

If you have any questions or worries the Colorectal Nurses may be able to help you.

North Devon: Colorectal Nurses telephone number – 01271 322464

 

Colorectal Clinical Nurse Specialists 

One of the colorectal nursing team will be in the clinic when you arrive. You should be given a card with their details on. Please ask a member of staff if you do not get given one.

North Devon:  01271 322464.  An answer phone is on all the time so please leave your name and phone number so that they can return your call.

Patient information leaflets

We produce a wide range of leaflets which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital. 

We also produce these in different formats including large print, please contact the department you are visiting for more information.

Find out more

Multi-disciplinary team

A range of specialists, known as the multi-disciplinary team, will provide your care. This usually consists of consultants, nurses and other healthcare professionals who specialise in colorectal services and meet regularly to discuss care and treatment options for each patient.

Following the meeting, an appointment will be made for you to be seen by your consultant in a clinic. The treatment options will be discussed with you and your family. A copy of the treatment plan agreed between yourselves and the consultant will be forwarded to your GP and a copy given to you.

You may be offered a named Key Worker who will be responsible for co-ordinating your care. The whole team can be contacted via your Key Worker.

East

  • Patricia Boorman – Clinical Director
  • Steve Mansfield – Clinical Lead
  • Polly Budden – Cluster Manager
  • Anita Irwin – Senior Nurse

North

Consultants

  • Miss Ceri Beaton, Lead Consultant Colorectal and General Surgeon
  • Mr Mark Cartmell – Colorectal Consultant Surgeon
  • Mrs Katie Cross – Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, Lead for Surgical IBD
  • Mr Iain Bain – Consultant Colorectal Surgeon
  • Dr Jenny MacPherson – Consultant Radiologist
  • Dr James Allred – Consultant Radiologist
  • Dr A Davis – Gastroenterologist, Lead for Bowel Cancer Screening locally / Lead Clinician for the Endoscopy Unit
  • Dr Fraser – Consultant Clinical Oncologist
  • Dr Juliette Hamilton - Consultant Oncologist

Nurses

  • Karen Day – Colorectal Professional and Clinical Lead
  • Caroline Smith – Colorectal/Stoma Care Nurse
  • Denise Sanders – Colorectal/Stoma care Nurse
  • Teresa Woodward – Colorectal/Stoma Care Nurse
  • Jo Tucker – Colorectal/Stoma Nurse
  • Debbie Elston – Colorectal/Stoma Nurse
  • Mandy Rimmer-Gray – Colorectal/Stoma Nurse

Admin

  • Sue Sanders – Colorectal MDT Co-Ordinator
  • Alison Ravenhill – Medical Secretary to Mr Anjum Arain  – Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Miss Ceri Beaton Consultant Colorectal Surgeon
  • Amanda Roberts – Medical Secretary to Mrs Katie Cross – Consultant Colorectal Surgeon
  • Danielle Dawson – Medical Secretary to Mr Mark Cartmell – Consultant Colorectal Surgeon
  • Joanna Knight – Colorectal Admin Support Worker

If you would like information about the MDT discussion, please contact the Colorectal Nursing Team on 01271 322464.

Your key worker will be Karen Day – Colorectal and Clinical Professional Lead 01271 322464.

Follow up care

Patients diagnosed with a colorectal (bowel) cancer will be followed up in clinic by their Consultant Surgeon, Colorectal Nurse or team member for five years following their diagnosis.  At certain intervals you will undergo further investigations to ensure that there is no sign of any disease and if there is, treatment can be started quickly.  The following information demonstrates the timings of these investigations.

Your care team will discuss your future follow-up appointments with you and advise of any investigations that will be needed for these appointments. 

 

Information for healthcare professionals

Please access guidelines for follow-up here

What does a typical patient pathway look like?

This is a visual guide to what a typical pathway could look like:

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Last updated: February 01, 2023