Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Gastroenterologist?
A Gastroenterologist is a trained medical specialist who looks after patients with conditions affecting organs of the digestive tract. This includes conditions affecting the oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, small bowel, colon, liver, gallbladder and pancreas.

What problems can a gastroenterologist help with?
Some of the common problems that gastroenterologists deal with include reflux, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, diarrhoea, constipation, bleeding from the bowel, jaundice and unexplained weight loss.

Some of the conditions that are commonly treated by gastroenterologists include:

  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GORD)
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Coeliac disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
  • Colonic polyps
  • Bowel cancer
  • Barrett’s oesophagus
  • Oesophageal strictures and ulcers
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Diverticular disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Diseases of the gallbladder and bile ducts
  • Pancreatitis
  • Haemochromatosis

Where are the doctors’ rooms?
The rooms are located at North Shore Private Hospital. Entry is through the main foyer of the hospital and the rooms are located on Level 5, Suite 1. All appointments are made at St Leonards rooms.

Is there any parking available?
Parking is available in the multi level car park, or in the open parking areas, in the spaces marked as 3P. These areas are sometimes quite busy. Please allow 20 minutes at least to find a park prior to your appointment

What should I bring to my appointment?

  • Referral from your usual family doctor (GP)
  • List of your usual medications and any allergies
  • Copies of any recent test results including blood tests and any radiology (ultrasound, CT scan or other)
  • Your medicare card and health insurance information

What can I expect to happen at my initial consultation?
At your initial consultation your Gastroenterologist will review the referral from your family doctor and any results that you bring with you. He will ask you about your current medical issues, review your past medical history and conduct a physical examination. He will then formulate a diagnostic and management plan with you that may involve further tests and treatments. He will explain the reasons for the tests, what they involve and any associated risks. He will also give you the opportunity to ask questions and may give you printed information about your procedures, medicines or condition. A letter detailing the consultation and plan will then be sent to your family doctor including and further investigation or treatment that has been recommended.

Do you accept credit card payments?
Credit card payments are accepted using Visa or Mastercard. We also have EFTPOS facilities. Credit card payments can be made over the telephone.

What is Colonoscopy/Endoscopy?
Gastrointestinal endoscopy involves looking inside the gastrointestinal tract using flexible instruments that carry light through a fibreoptic bundle and return the image digitally to a screen where they can be viewed. Endoscopy is usually performed in a hospital as a day procedure and patients are usually sedated for procedures.

Endoscopy allows diagnosis by direct viewing for abnormalities, taking small samples of tissue (biopsy), and intervention such as removal of polyps (polypectomy). The most commonly performed endoscopic procedures are gastroscopy (panendoscopy or oesophago-gastroduodenoscopy) and colonoscopy. Often both procedures will be performed on the one day immediately one-after-another. Gastroscopy is a procedure to examine the upper digestive tract including oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. Colonoscopy is a procedure to examine the lower digestive tract including the colon (large bowel or large intestine) and often the last section of the small bowel (ileum).

Can I book in for a Colonoscopy/Endoscopy?
You cannot book in for a colonoscopy without an initial consultation. At this consultation the doctor will discuss your individual requirements and provide written advice on pre procedural matters. In addition, specific complications related to colonoscopy will be discussed and written consent obtained for the procedure.

How long after I see the doctor can I have the procedure done?
The exact time will be discussed during your initial consultation, but in general it will be about 2 weeks.

Are the procedures covered by my Health Fund?
As all Health Funds are different, you should check with your particular fund to ensure that you have the required coverage.

Do you do Gap Cover and do you bulk bill?
Northern Gastroenterology does not offer bulk billing. Medicare will cover part of the cost of your consultation but there will be an out-of-pocket gap for your consultations. If you need an endoscopic procedure Concessions may be organised via Gap Cover arrangements but only following discussion with your doctor. If you have an ‘excess’ on your insurance policy then this may be payable for the hospital’s fee. There may be additional fees for any pathology or radiology tests that are requested.

How long after the procedure will results be available?
You will receive a written report immediately after the procedure.

What can I do after a colonoscopy?
You will need to be driven home from the hospital after a colonoscopy and you should wait 4 days before taking an international flight. Occasionally after removal of large polyps, specific instructions will be needed for follow-up.