Frequently Asked Questions

What is a gastroenterologist?


A Gastroenterologist is a doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating diseases of digestive organs. The digestive organs include the digestive tract-oesophagus, stomach, small and large intestine-as well as related organs-the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

What are the common problems evaluated by a gastroenterologist?


Problems associated with the following areas are normally evaluated by a gastroenterologist are:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Persistent nausea and vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Constipation

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Heartburn

  • Swallowing trouble

  • Weight loss

  • Jaundice

What should I bring with me to my consultation appointment?

  • Your insurance information

  • A referral from your General Practitioner or family doctor.

  • All pertinent x-rays, scans, blood test results and results of any other relevant investigations ordered by your GP.

  • A list of all medications that you are currently taking

  • A list of any known drug allergies and the symptoms you may have from taking these medicines

What does Open Access mean?

There are a number of different systems which purport to be “Open Access”. At Pennant Hills Endoscopy Centre, certain patients can be booked for routine endoscopic procedures without prior consultation with a gastroenterologist. Patients referred by their GP under Open Access are interviewed by telephone by specifically-trained GE nurses on their suitability and fitness for both the preparation and procedure. A detailed medical history is taken. Patients receive detailed written instructions for preparation and information about the procedure including any associated risks. If a patient wishes to discuss all possible complications they will need to seek a formal consultation with a gastroenterologist prior to the procedure.

Patients who are candidates for Open Access include: People < 70 years of age; in good general health with no significant co-morbidities; who have had a positive faecal occult blood test or non-complicated rectal bleeding; a Family History of GIT cancer; simple reflux and screening for Barrett’s Oesophagusocedure.

Are my medical records kept private and confidential?


Your medical file is handled with the utmost respect for your privacy. Our staff are bound by strict confidentiality requirements as a condition of employment regarding your medical records.

Ordinarily we will not release the contents of your medical file without your consent.

Do I need a referral to make an appointment?


Most medical specialists will accept only referred patients. This is partly to try to ensure that the specialist you are seeing is appropriate for you and your condition, and also because Medicare pays higher rebates for specialist services if you have been referred.

How can my family doctor help me to obtain specialist medical care?


Before seeing any medical specialist, it is always preferable to talk to your own family doctor, who can discuss your condition with you and advise on whether any specialist care is appropriate. If it is, he or she can help you to choose the specialist best suited to your needs.

Your family doctor can help the specialist to care for you better by providing relevant information about your health. Communicating with the specialist will also enable your family doctor to care for you better during and after your specialist treatment.

What should I expect during first visit?


At your first consultation appointment with the gastroenterologist your medical history, symptoms and referral from your GP will be evaluated and further tests or procedures will be arranged for you. You will usually be examined by the gastroenterologist with reference to your symptoms.