Case study: Endoscopy algorithm, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Case study: Endoscopy algorithm, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Statement 2.1

Clear pathways and protocols for investigating children and adults with persistent lower gastrointestinal symptoms should be agreed between primary and secondary care and should include guidance on the use of faecal biomarker tests in primary care to aid rapid diagnosis.

Many people are waiting too long for a diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This is distressing for those who are waiting, with often painful and debilitating symptoms and no effective treatment. It’s also costly for the NHS as delayed diagnosis results in higher likelihood of surgery, more expensive treatments and a poorer prognosis. It can be difficult for GPs to identify potential IBD as the symptoms overlap with other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, and can be atypical, especially in children. Clear pathways and protocols can speed up diagnosis and lead to better patient outcomes.

Who's doing it well?

We spoke to Beverley Kirkham, Lead Clinical Nurse Specialist for IBD at Kingston Hospital, to find out about their new endoscopy algorithm.

What was the problem?

Patients were having investigations with no adequate treatment started, or with follow-up not initiated. This led to a poor experience and poor outcomes for them, which had a negative effect on the patients, the staff, and the Trust.

What were the barriers to change?

Engaging colleagues, navigating governance processes, and educating service users.

What steps did you take to improve this and who was involved with the change?

I proposed a new algorithm to address the delays in treatment and referral for patients undergoing endoscopic procedures and this was accepted by our gastroenterology governance team. A poster was created which we now highlight to clinicians at regular meetings and is visible in all endoscopy rooms. The endoscopy lead Consultant, Nurse Consultant, and Business Manager have been involved in helping to highlight this new tool, and we have already seen more patients referred directly to the IBD team from their procedure, which is very positive.