Statement 1.10

Endoscopic assessment and ultrasound/MRI/CT/contrast studies should be accessible within four weeks, and within 24 hours where patients are acutely unwell or require admission to hospital.

Statement 1.11

Histological processing and reporting should take place routinely within five working days or within two working days for reporting of urgent biopsy samples.

Why is this important?

Endoscopy, imaging and histology play an essential role in the diagnosis, management, prognosis and surveillance of IBD.

We know that any delay in assessment and diagnosis, or timely intervention, can lead to complications and affect someone’s quality of life. What’s more, severe symptoms require urgent specialist assessment – and, depending on clinical need, this might include an emergency hospital admission. No one with suspected IBD should wait more than 4 weeks from referral for a specialist assessment. Equally, prompt and effective flare management is very important.

All this only underlines the importance of accessing investigations (and their results) in the right timeframe. It’s an essential step in ensuring that the right treatment is put in place as quickly as possible for the best outcomes.

Referral pathways will help reduce inappropriate referrals for endoscopy, and free up slots for those who need them more urgently.

Investigations should always take place in an age-appropriate, specialist setting.

Timely assessment and reporting of investigations make a very important contribution to the accurate diagnosis and optimal management of IBD.

Prof Roger Feakins, Consultant Histopathologist

I had a long 6 month wait for a colonoscopy and it got cancelled a couple of times, although I had bleeding, so I had quite a wait for my diagnosis.”

IBD Standards survey respondent