The Intestinal Failure (IF) Service at UCH is a multidisciplinary service managing the complex needs of patients with gastrointestinal fistulas. The team includes consultant surgeons, anaesthetists, radiologists and nutritional gastroenterologists, as well as specialist nurses with expertise in this area. At UCH we aim to assess patients referred to us quickly and plan every aspect of their care effectively.

Service management

Address

Intestinal Failure Service
University College Hospital
Gastrointestinal Services Division
Ground Floor West
250 Euston Road
London, NW1 2PG

Other referral information

Please complete the IF Referral form and email to UCLH.IFReferrals@nhs.net. In order for the referral to be accepted a verbal conversation needs to take place with a Consultant colleague at UCLH in the IF service.

Referral address

Gastrointestinal Services Division
Ground Floor West
250 Euston Road
London, NW1 2PG

  • Enterocutaneous fistulas (ECFs) 
  • Intra-abdominal fistulas
  • Abdominal wall defects and massive hernias

The Intestinal Failure Service carries out an average of 40 operative repairs a year, as well as seeing many more patients in nutrition and surgical clinics.

Once a patient has been referred to us from their home hospital and accepted for assessment, they are transferred to UCLH for a short period of assessment, usually taking five days according to clinical need.

During the assessment the patient is assessed for whether they are suitable for surgery, and their nutritional needs are looked at to see if any changes can be made to ensure the patient is fit for surgery.

At the end of the assessment period, each patient is discussed in detail at our multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meeting and a plan agreed upon. We do not operate within six months of a patient’s last operation to allow time for scar-tissue to heal, and so sometimes it is necessary to transfer a patient back to their referring hospital until it is safe to operate.

The length of time the patient will need to stay in hospital after their operation depends on the exact operation performed, but generally, recovery can take approximately two weeks. During this time the patient will be seen daily by the surgical and nutrition team.