The Direct Access Colonoscopy Program allows a doctor / GP to refer someone directly for a colonoscopy without the need for an initial consultation with the medical specialist.
The following conditions apply to patients:
- Must be fit and healthy.
- Must be under 80 years old.
- Must not be taking anticoagulant medication.
- Must not have any history of:
- Heart disease.
- Kidney disease.
- Liver disease.
- Serious lung conditions.
Patients must also satisfy one or more of these conditions:
- Positive FOBT (Faecal Occult Blood Test).
- Have a family history of colorectal cancer.
- Have previously had precancerous polyps.
- Rectal bleeding (in patients over 50 years of age).
A colonoscope is a type of endoscope, which is a medical device that allows a medical specialist to view inside the body without the need for surgery. A colonoscope is a thin tube equipped with a very small video camera and light and some miniaturised surgical instruments, that is inserted into the colon via the anus. It was developed in the 1950s and has been in use ever since. Colonoscopy has many advantages over exploratory surgery, which before the 1950s was the only option.
These advantages are:
- No incisions (so no scarring).
- Quicker procedure.
- Much faster recovery (as less stress is placed on the body).
As well as being able to examine the lining of the colon, a colonoscope can also perform some surgical procedures, such as taking tissue samples (biopsies) and removing polyps.
After a colonoscopy only a very short period of observation is required before the patient is able to return home.