08 FYi • Career



A career in gastroenterology promises to be diverse, exciting and satisfying

ASTROENTEROLOGISTS investigate, diagnose, treat and prevent all gastrointestinal and hepatological diseases. The role is varied and offers clinicians the opportunity to look after acutely ill and chronically unwell patients, as well as carrying out technical and often demanding procedures. One of the fastest-growing UK medical specialties, it has seen considerable scientific and technological developments in recent years, meaning specialists are always acquiring new skills and extending their knowledge.

Entry and training Upon successful completion of the two-year foundation training programme, specialty training in gastroenterology generally lasts seven years. This begins with either two years core medical training (CMT) or three years in acute care common stem (ACCS). At this stage, trainees are expected to gain full membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP UK) before progressing to specialty training (beginning at ST3). Most gastroenterologists also train in general internal medicine, which takes a minimum of five years (ST3-ST7). Sub-specialty training in hepatology can be taken in ST5. Trainees are expected to have six months each of core liver and nutrition training.

The job Gastroenterology is known for its diversity. While some specialists deal with a single organ, gastroenterologists manage patients with disorders of the liver, intestines, stomach, oesophagus, pancreas and gallbladder. That said, there is opportunity to become highly specialised in fields including hepatology, inflammatory bowel disease, inherited cancer syndromes and tropical diseases. All gastroenterology specialists are competent at upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy and most will be trained in lower GI endoscopy. Some will have had additional training in hepatobiliary endoscopy or small bowel endoscopy. Most will participate in acute gastroenterology admissions and manage a broad range of GI disease, either in outpatients or following admissions. They treat a wide range of conditions including: GI bleeding; GI cancer; anaemia; inflammatory

bowel disease, e.g. Crohn’s; gastroenteritis; hepatitis; short bowel syndrome; jaundice; and management of the wide range of causes of hepatitis. This broad range makes multidisciplinary team working a key feature of the specialty. In addition to liaison with nurse specialists, gastroenterologists will work closely with surgeons, diagnostic and interventional radiologists, pathologists and oncologists.

Sources: • British Society of Gastroenterology:

• Royal College of Physicians – • GMC gastroenterology training curriculum - • NHS Health Careers -

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