A specialist evening service for endoscopy patients has been launched at West Suffolk Hospital.

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The Bury St Edmunds hospital has extended the opening times of its service, adding a session from 5pm to 8pm on Mondays and Thursdays.

The service has been introduced after feedback from GPs and patients so people do not have to take time off from work for their appointment.

A team of consultant gastroenterologists and nurse endoscopists are running the service, which is primarily for gastroscopy, looking at the stomach, and sigmoidoscopy, which examines the colon.

Patients can attend evening sessions when referred by using the choose and book system.

Paula Heading, deputy imaging services manager at the hospital, said: “We are committed to making it as easy as possible for people to access the specialist care we provide, and these evening sessions are helping us to do just that.

“As well as making our service more convenient, these extended hours have also helped increase the capacity of our clinics so that we can see more patients, in turn reducing waiting times,” she said.

As well as the evening sessions, the endoscopy department has introduced a new pre-assessment service.

The service sees staff call patients a week before their appointment to discuss their procedure and answer any questions they may have.

Ms Heading said: “As well as helping make sure patients fully understand their procedure, the pre-assessment service also reminds them of their appointment time and date.

“As such, we hope it will also help reduce the number of people who fail to attend their appointment.

“All of the feedback we’ve received so far has been really positive and we’re pleased that patients are benefitting from these changes. However, we will not be complacent and will continue to look for ways in which we can improve the services we provide still further in the future.”

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