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Colorectal service


Coronavirus: Lower gastrointestinal service update

Due to increased demand on the hospital due to the Covid-19 pandemic we are having to make significant changes to our services which may require cancellation of appointments.


We are attempting to contact all patients with a future scheduled appointment. In some cases we are changing appointments to a telephone consultation, and in certain circumstances, a video appointment. Some appointments may be cancelled without a future date being arranged at this stage. If we cancel your appointment you will remain on our waiting list and we will contact you in due course. Some patients may be discharged back to their GP and we will write to you if this is the case.

If you have not heard from us within three days of your scheduled appointment please contact us by email If you are unable to use email or your query is urgent, please call 020 7188 8875. Our phone lines are very busy and there may be a wait for your call to be answered.

If you are an existing patient who has previously been seen in our service and need advice from the clinical team please see below for the appropriate option:

Contact us by email for: 

Contact us by telephone on: 0207 188 8875 for:

  • If you don’t have access to email or our website
  • If you leave a message on this number it may be a few days before we are able to respond to your query.

Please read the colorectal service and coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs. If your query is not covered in the FAQs, please either email or call us as detailed above.

For GPs:

We are doing everything we can to support GPs and your patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need advice from our clinical team please use the current advice and guidance channels including e-RS advice and guidance for written communication.

Advice & Guidance

We are doing everything we can to support GPs and your patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, prior to ANY Referral, we would strongly advise that GPs to seek A&G via e-RS or Consultant Connect (if it is available in your area) or call our Emergency General Surgery hotline on 07826922963 to speak to our SAU flow coordinator. Our coordinator will be able to direct your call and if you require further information they can submit your request for triage.

Please note this line is operational between Monday-Friday, 7.30am-8pm.

Please note that all of our services available on e-RS are set up for Advice requests.

This will enable the clinical team to review your request and provide an interim treatment plan for ongoing management of a patient. They can also advise/ provide clarification regarding a patients test results.

The GP can attach documents to the e-RS advice request, which may include diagnostic results, scanned images (e.g. ECGs). Providers can also respond with attachments.

eRS Referrals:

If you feel that a referral is absolutely necessary, please refer via e-RS and use the “defer to provider” functionality for urgent/ 2WW referrals. Please attach the referral letter at the point of referral / within 24 hrs. For 2ww referrals, please ensure that the patient meets the criteria ahead of referring. Please do not refer urgent patients under 2ww as this will overwhelm the service.

The Trust will vet the referral and either book into a virtual appointment or add the patient to the waiting list if they need a face to face appointment. In some cases the referral may be returned (rejected) back to you with advice.

Please do not defer to provider routine referrals. Send the appointment request to the patient so they can do this when they are ready to book.

Please consider this before making any referral as our capacity to see new patients is very limited.

For any training issues/ technical assistance with e-RS/ Smartcards, please contact your local Commissioning Support Unit facilitators or Registration Authority Helpdesk.

Consultant Connect:

For SEL GPs, your CCG has commissioned the Consultant Connect service so you can also use this to seek advice. We are in the process of expanding our Consultant Connect lines – these will be available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and the communication will come via your local CCG bulletins so please ensure you cascade this within the Practice.

Please see the frequently asked questions we are receiving from our patients.

Colorectal service

We a distinguished centre of clinical excellence for all aspects of colorectal disease, including:

  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • recurrent and locally advance colorectal cancer surgery
  • colorectal cancer diagnoses and surgery
  • anal cancer surgery
  • pelvic floor assessment and treatment
  • benign anorectal disease
  • stoma care
  • family history cancer screening.

We are a national referral centre for complex colorectal disease and provide a full range of services to the local community.

The colorectal service works closely with the medical gastroenterology and the colorectal surgical team. Physicians, surgeons, nurses and other allied health professionals work closely to provide a holistic and caring service. The team strives for excellence in caring for this group of patients with complex and often embarrassing problems.

The team has a strong focus on multi-disciplinary education and research in all aspects of colorectal disease with close links to King’s College and London Southbank University. Our research and specialist interests are listed below:

  • investigation into the quality of life for sufferers of faecal incontinence
  • assessment of bowel function following fistula surgery
  • surgical reconstruction and function following protectomy
  • topical management of Crohn's Disease
  • biofeedback techniques (such as rectal irrigation and anal stimulation for faecal incontinence)
  • enhanced recovery for colorectal surgery to reduce length of stay by allowing safe discharge sooner after surgery
  • comparing physiological and ultrasonographic techniques in assessing the pelvic floor.

Preparing for your operation

Watch our preparing for your operation film to find out what you can expect during your care with us before, during and after an operation and how you can help your recovery after surgery.

  • Preparing for your operation – video transcript

    Mr Jonathan Olsburgh (consultant surgeon): In this video we're going to talk about what you can expect during your care with us before, during and after an operation and what steps you can take to assist your recovery and help you to get home as quickly as possible.

    This is often referred to as the enhanced recovery programme.

    These principles apply to any kind of operation. Evidence shows that being prepared for your operation both mentally and physically will help your recovery. You will know what to expect, what you can do to make yourself feel better. This is a key element of enhanced recovery.

    Applying enhanced recovery principles before your operation helps ensure you're better prepared by looking at exercise and diet; if appropriate stopping smoking or reducing alcohol; thinking about your home circumstances and having information on what to expect at each stage.

    Ian Wicks (kidney transplant patient): I spoke to my doctor when I turned out for my regular appointments about what to expect and things like that helped. I'm someone who likes to know information in advance it helps me process it a bit better. Back in the education sessions it was, don't smoke if you smoke, don't drink if you drink.

    Start to manage your diet a little bit differently, which we did, and in terms of the diet I think that was the thing that probably helped the most given guidance on what things would be good for me to eat the things that wouldn't be so good for me to eat. I think having that information and also listening to it is really important.

    Kathryn Chatterton (clinical nurse specialist): When I first meet you I'll be introduced to you by my consultant and then we'll be able to go through before and after what's going to be happening to you during your surgery. You'll also be given the opportunity to ask me any questions and also I'll make sure that you have the appropriate literature for you to have with regards to your surgery.

    Before your surgery you'll attend a pre-assessment clinic or a seminar which will be with a group of patients that are all undergoing the same surgery. Depending on the type of surgery and length of surgery there are a few members of the health care professional team that you may meet.

    You may meet the clinical nurse specialists who will be able to go through any additional questions that you're unsure about regarding your surgery. You will also meet a physiotherapist. They may be able to help you with any exercise to help you for pre and post-surgery and also, perhaps depending on the surgery, a pharmacist.

    Our dietitians can give guidance on nutrition before your surgery and how to look after yourself nutritionally when you're discharged. Some patients may be asked to drink a special carbohydrate drink which will help prepare your body for the operation and will help you with your recovery.

    Anna Mae Salvador (ward manager): The nurses will prepare you for surgery and when you're ready you'll be taken to an anaesthetic room and from there you're going to the operating room. After an operation most patient will wake up in the recovery room where you will be monitored until you're ready to go back to the ward.

    If you have had complex surgery or have complex medical needs you may move to a more specialist unit to be monitored through the initial recovery before being moved to the ward.

    It is important to get up and get moving as soon as you can after your operation. Most patients can start gentle exercises in bed and maybe sit out in a chair with assistance from the nurse on the same day of the operation. Movement will really help your recovery.

    The team looking after you will make sure you start eating and drinking at the right time after your operation, building this up gradually. We will also ask you if you have any pain or nausea and will help you manage this.

    Ian Wicks: I think it was on day one after the operation I should be getting out of bed and sitting up for a little while and I think that gave me the kind of the kick to get up and do it, thinking with that's what I've been told to do that's got to be the right thing to do even if it hurts. So get up, get out of bed and just try and do what the little booklet told me to do.

    I think having like a plan laid out, almost like a diary of what to expect, was really helpful, and I think in some ways you almost want to psychologically to try and beat it a little bit because I think it ran for five or six days, the programme. It was nice to know that I could sit in a chair longer than they expected me to sit in a chair for example. So that was a bit of a challenge almost to try and do better than it was laying out for you.

    Mr Jonathan Olsburgh: The important thing to remember is that every patient we see gets personalised care and is based around giving you the best possible experience and fastest possible recovery. The experience of Ian is an example of enhanced recovery to best support a transplant patient, many of the principles apply regardless of the type of operation you require.

    Ian Wicks: I went home three and a half days after the operation and I felt ready to go.

    Mr Jonathan Olsburgh: We're always happy to answer your questions so please do ask a member of your care team.