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About the Gastroenterology department

The Gastroenterology department at Great Ormond Street Hospital is one of the UK’s leading centres of excellence in treating complex diseases affecting the gut and other associated organs (such as the pancreas).  

Staff on Kingfisher Ward

The Gastroenterology department of Great Ormond Street Hospital is well recognised as a leading centre of advanced paediatric gastrointestinal medicine, clinical research and teaching. The department provides integrated clinical and academic activity between Great Ormond Street Hospital and the University College London (UCL) Institute of Child Health. The aim of the department is to provide a high standard of care for children with complex gastroenterological diseases. The department is committed to translating excellence in research and teaching into the provision of high quality patient-focussed medical and nursing care, and to further understanding of the cause, development and treatment of gastro-intestinal (GI) disorders in children.

Due to its specialisation, the department offers a tertiary referral service (accepting referrals only from other hospitals) to paediatricians in North Central London and neighbouring counties; and a sub-specialist referral service to gastroenterologists throughout the UK and worldwide. There is a strong link to the adult and adolescent gastroenterology units at UCL Hospital through regular joint clinics and adolescent handover services. The unit works in partnership with the United States as the only UK centre active in ImproveCareNow, a collaborative concentrated on Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Key strengths:

  • a proven track record of translating basic science into clinical therapies to combat diseases

  • one of the fastest-growing gastroenterology services in the UK

  • the UK’s only gut tissue engineering facility

  • recognised academic success in research and development

  • unique potential to expand our capacity and meet new challenge areas in treating gut disease and food allergies

Gastroenterology investigations suite wide shot
Gastroenterology investigations suite

Sub-specialities:

The following sub-specialty areas within paediatric gastroenterology have been developed by the Gastroenterology department:

  • Neurogastroenterology and motility - where either one or both of the bowel nerves and muscles do not work properly (eg: pseudo-obstruction)

  • Mucosal immunology - where diseases and conditions driven by the immune system cause inflammation and affect the bowel’s ability to work effectively (eg: inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, coeliac disease)

  • Intestinal failure - where significant portions of the bowel are unable to function, resulting in malabsorption that requires rehabilitation and often the use of artificial nutrition called total parenteral nutrition

The department has close links to Paediatric Surgery department, and to the Dietetic and Pharmacy departments, which provide Nutritional Support Services for the hospital. The strong links to the Immunology and Bone Marrow Transplant Units have expanded further with the aim to develop joint weekly meetings and regular joint clinics.

The clinical department is intimately associated with the academic department within the Institute of Child Health where there is an active research programme into aspects of intestinal adaptation and secretion, Intestinal inflammation, pancreatic disease and enteric neuromuscular disease.

As a unit, we complete more than 1380 endoscopies per year as well as other gastroenterological investigations including:

  • Manometries - tests measuring the pressures in the gastro intestinal system

  • pH Impedance studies - testing acid and alkaline reflux in the oesophagus

  • Video capsule endoscopies (VCE): a small jelly bean sized camera which is swallowed or placed into the stomach which takes and transmits pictures/video of the gut as it moves through.

  • EGGs: records the electrical signals that travel through the stomach muscles and control the muscles' contractions

We have two wards accepting gastroenterological patients on a long and short stay basis as well as our dedicated investigation suite.