The Gastroenterology Team cares for adult patients admitted as inpatients with gastroenterology conditions.  This means conditions that do not require surgery and involve the bowel and the liver.

What do we do?

Our team provides management and treatment options for patient experiencing gastroenterology concerns while working closely with surgical and medical teams involved in patients care.

To ensure continuity of care, we do not take over the care of patients currently being treated by other hospitals or private gastroenterologists.

Some gastroenterology conditions require referral to specialist services in Geelong or Melbourne and in this circumstance we may provide these patients with follow up consultations on behalf of these services.

What can you expect?

Patients admitted to hospital under the gastroenterology team may be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, the General Wards or the Medical Day Unit. This will depend on the nature of their condition.

Patients are admitted for endoscopy services in partnership with the surgical teams at the hospital.

Treatment of gastroenterology conditions may involve:

  • Further tests to confirm or exclude a particular diagnosis
  • Procedures such as endoscopy – gastroscopy and colonoscopy
  • Medications to treat inflammatory bowel disease and conditions such as hepatitis
  • A combination of medications and lifestyle measures that reduce the risk of, or prevent, further problems due to irritable bowel syndrome
  • Supportive care such as iron and blood transfusions

How can you access this service?

Patients are admitted to the hospital wards via the Emergency Department or more commonly from our specialist clinics.

Commonly Asked Questions

When do the doctors visit?

The gastroenterology team conduct a ward round each day typically beginning in the wards or the Emergency Department.

What time is discharge?

Our team considers the needs for a safe discharge from hospital at the beginning of each patient’s admission. The team takes into account your discharge needs including medications and additional supports you may require.  Hospital policy is to arrange discharge before 10:00am.

What happens after an admission?

The gastroenterology team will write a discharge summary which is sent electronically to your nominated GP.  We expect patients to have a follow up appointment with their GP following hospital discharge.
The gastroenterologist may ask for you to be referred to specialist clinics for follow up. 
You may also receive referrals to a dietician or other allied health professionals.

Referral Process

A referral requires clinical information.  The essential demographic referral requirements as per statewide referral guide:

  • Reason for referral
  • Duration of symptoms and current symptoms
  • Relevant pathology and imaging reports
  • Past medical history
  • Current Medications and allergies

Essential referral content will be checked and you may be contacted if further information is required.

The referral is triaged by the specialist unit according to clinical urgency.  This determines how long the patient will have to wait for an appointment.

Patients with urgent conditions are scheduled to be seen within 30 days.  Patients with routine conditions are given the next available appointment according to clinical need.

Additional Information

Some clinics offer an MBS-billed service.  There is no out of pocket expense to the patient.  MBS-billed services require a current referral to a named specialist– please provide your patient with a 12 month referral addressed to the specialist of your choice.  

Please note: your patient may be seen by another specialist in that clinic, in order to expedite their treatment.

Please note: The times to assessment may vary depending on the triage.  It is particularly important that we have enough information to be able to triage appropriately to general surgery versus gastroenterology, and also to determine if direct referral to endoscopy is the most appropriate option.

If you are concerned about the delay of an outpatient appointment or if there is any deterioration in the patient’s condition, please contact the Gastroenterology Registrar on call 03 5320 4000.

Discussion with the registrar or sending a follow up referral may save your patient a visit to the Emergency Department (ED).

Referrals from ED staff are triaged in the same way as referrals from GPs with the clinical urgency rather than the source of the referral being taken into consideration.

After Hours Information

After hours the medical registrar or surgical registrar is the appropriate contact. The gastroenterology unit does not provide an after hours on call service nor a Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding service.  Referrals are directed via the surgical team in the first instance.

Ballarat Base Hospital

Location

1 Drummond Street North
Ballarat VIC 3350

Phone

03 5320 4000

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