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Preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancerous and non-cancerous conditions that affect the digestive system

Our gastroenterology practice here at The Lancaster Hospital looks at preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancerous and non-cancerous conditions that affect the digestive system.

Developing and running endoscopy services for diagnostic, therapeutic and screening endoscopy, gastroenterologists deal with upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy (gastroscopy) and lower GI endoscopy (flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy).

Conditions we see here at the hospital cover a broad range of gastrointestinal disease, either in an outpatient setting or following admission. These include indigestion, reflux, ulcers, Helicobacter infection, gallstones, liver disease, rectal bleeding, constipation, diarrhoea and bloating.

Patients who visit us at The Lancaster Hospital also want advice or treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, and inflammatory bowel disease – all of which can be better managed and treated with the help of our consultant gastroenterologist.

Abdominal pain and discomfort are key complaints our gastroenterologist helps manage and treat at The Lancaster Hospital. Bleeding at defecation, anaemia, gallstone problems, abnormal scan results, abnormal liver tests (LFTs) are also common conditions, while patients who are worried about a family history of cancer affecting the digestive system may visit our gastroenterologist for reassurance.

Below, we take a closer look at three of these key conditions and complaints our patients present with at The Lancaster Hospital.

Abdominal Pain and Discomfort

Pain and discomfort in the abdomen can be attributed to a host of things, including indigestion after eating, gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis), gallstones, inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease) and gas.


Often, gallstones don’t cause any symptoms. In some cases, though, if a gallstone blocks one of the bile ducts, the patient may experience severe pain in the abdomen.

This is known as biliary colic, with other symptoms developing if the blockage occurs in another part of the digestive system, or if the blockage is more severe.

Abnormal Liver Tests

While LFTs (Liver Function Tests) are not specific to any disease processes, any abnormalities picked up in these tests can point to a significant disease.

Patients who have received abnormal LFTs results may seek reassurance from our Consultant Gastroenterologist, who can examine the results and perform a repeat test if required. Our Consultant will then focus on giving you a diagnosis, to help you decide how to proceed with managing a condition you may be experiencing.

A lot of treatments offered at The Lancaster Hospital are day case treatments, which means patients come into hospital in the morning, and return home in the afternoon, rather than spending a few days recovering in a traditional hospital setting.

As the primary diagnostic test is an endoscopy, most patients tend to recover faster than they would from an operation, which tends to be more relevant for growths in the bowel or gallstones.

Our Consultant Gastroenterologist will take a full medical history, as well as asking you about your symptoms and how they may be affecting your day-to-day life.

Things can change at the initial meeting, says our specialist. Something may have developed since the referral or things may take a slightly different direction following an interpretation of their problems – and patients should be advised that this is normal.

You may need some investigations or diagnostic tests – and these will be discussed with you at your consultation. You can then choose whether you would like to proceed with the recommended investigations, which may include an endoscopy, and our Consultant will perform this test himself.

Hepatobiliary endoscopy (ERCP), meanwhile, is an endoscopy, which is usually performed for gallstones and can be arranged within a short time, should you require this test.

With expertise in endoscopy, our Consultant has performed several thousand of each of the main types of endoscopy.

These include:

Our Consultant believes in allowing patients enough opportunity to express themselves at all stages in the consultation and treatment process. Placing them at the centre of the decision-making process after being informed of their options, our Consultant gives you plenty of time to consider the tests and diagnostics.

Additional tests may be required for some patients; these include:

If you need any of these tests and opt to proceed with them, our Consultant Gastroenterologist will arrange these for you, and you usually won’t need to wait too long for an appointment.

Our clinic covers a wide geographical area, including Lancaster itself and the surrounding areas, South Lakes, Cumbria, North Yorkshire, and Lancashire.

There are several reasons why you might choose The Lancaster Hospital for your consultation. Every specialist working is an NHS-practicing consultant, which means the services they provide undergo a rigorous process of appraisal and recommendation.

With clean, modern facilities and excellent care offered – both for day case procedures and for patients who need to stay in hospital for treatment – The Lancaster Hospital is a great choice. With over 30 car parking spaces for those who wish to drive to their appointment, the hospital is also on a reliable local bus route.

If you need to undergo routine tests and diagnostics, you will never have to wait too long to be booked in – and you will always be seen by a consultant at each appointment (not a junior member of the team). The consultant (usually the most senior member of the team) you see will also be the person who performs any tests you need.

Here are some at-a-glance reasons why you might choose the hospital for your consultation:

  • Reduced waiting times – Patients who visit our gastroenterology clinic can, of course, benefit from shorter waiting times than they would if, say, they were to pursue treatment on the NHS.
  • Flexible appointments at a time to suit you – You can choose an appointment time to suit you and your schedule. In some cases, remote consultations will be offered.
  • Consultant-led appointments – Your appointment will always be consultant-led, and you’ll see the same person each time you visit The Lancaster Hospital, from your consultation, right through to any treatment needed.
  • Patient satisfaction and personalised care – In an independent survey* in 2020, 97.3% of our patients said they would recommend The Lancaster Hospital. *Results compiled by healthcare agency, Quality Health.

Want to make an appointment with our consultant gastroenterologist at The Lancaster Hospital? You can get in touch with our team by calling 01524 62345.

You can also use our handy online booking system to make your appointment quickly and easily.

Specialists offering Gastroenterology

Dr Chris Meaden

Consultant Gastroenterologist

MA (Cantab), BM BCh (Oxon), MD, FRCP

The Lancaster Hospital 1 more The Beardwood Hospital

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