Service Development: Advanced GI Physiology

Our innovative Advanced GI Physiology pilot service has been extended for three years.

Michelle Gavin, Endoscopy Specialist Nurse, said: “We recognised we had patients who needed more analysis on the function of their gastrointestinal system. However, we were unable to provide this and patients had to go on a waiting list for this service at Addenbrooke’s Hospital”.

The service is rare and specialised, and we didn’t have the specialist equipment or staff,  but endoscopy colleagues were aware of Dr Hobson’s Functional Gut Clinic in London and his services at other NHS centres, so we established a pilot clinic to provide services locally.

We’ve been able to provide GI Physiology two days a month in our endoscopy clinic, provided by Dr Anthony Hobson, who is a Consultant Clinical Scientist and provides all of the equipment and specialist skills.

The service provides a wide range of tests including High-Resolution Oesophageal Manometry and Impedance (HRiM), an advanced swallowing assessment which measures muscle function and swallow clearance in the oesophagus as well as sphincter function for patients with acid reflux or dysphagia (swallowing problems). 24 hour pH / Impedance studies which monitors acid and non-acid reflux over a 24-hour period; and expanding hydrogen / Methane breath testing to look for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and intolerances to sugars such as lactose and fructose which can cause severe bloating.

The service means around 20-30 patients a month can be seen locally, without having any delays, as the number of clinics is increased around demand, meaning we don’t have a waiting list of patients.

“It’s excellent news for patients and the team that we are providing this service for another three years.”

There has been a leap in technology which is not widely available in most NHS centres and a lack of qualified staff which can cause these services to be limited,” said Dr Hobson. “I trained in the NHS in Manchester and my practice at The Functional Gut Clinic provides clinics in London and Kent. This is predominantly for private patients and I was excited when approached by Michelle to provide NHS services in the new City Hospital.

I am able to provide the ‘mobile’ clinic which means the Trust doesn’t have to invest in the expensive equipment or the qualified staff. I enjoy working with the endoscopy team, and the nurses are able to observe and be trained in the new procedures. I very much look forward to continuing to provide the services in Peterborough.”

The Functional Gut Clinic is the first GI Physiology service in the UK to reach the IQIPS accreditation standard (Improving Quality in Physiological Services) – similar to the JAG accreditation for endoscopy – and Peterborough will be applying to come under this accreditation  ‘umbrella’ in July, which will be the first NHS centre to reach this standard!