The Edinburgh Colorectal Unit is situated in the Western General Hospital. It is one of Europe’s biggest colorectal units. It offers tertiary referral colorectal surgical services for all aspects of benign and malignant colorectal conditions, both elective and emergency. The unit has 86 elective beds, including a 25-bedded acute surgical admissions ward. Critical care comprises 10 level one surgical high dependency beds; 6 level 2/3 beds and a 10-bedded intensive care unit. The Anne Ferguson Building opened in August 2001 and provides 9 theatres including a dedicated CEPOD theatre, day bed and GI endoscopy facilities as well as outpatients.

The Unit performs over 1,200 operations annually, including 400 major cancer resections, 80 complex exenterations for gynaecological cancer, advanced rectal cancer, recurrent rectal cancer and sarcoma and approximately 40 Ileoanal-pouch procedures. TEMS (transanal endoscopic microsurgery), Sacral Nerve Stimulation, laparoscopic ventral rectopexy and other advanced colorectal procedures are also undertaken. Endoanal ultrasound and anorectal physiology are available on site.

The colorectal unit admits about 20 emergency colorectal patients daily. The unit also accepts tertiary referrals from other Scottish centres. Activity data confirms that the unit received in the last year 6,300 new patient referrals. The GI endoscopy service supports a full range of interventional modalities including laser therapy, argon plasma coagulation and endoscopic ultrasound. Colonoscopy is supported by the Scope Guide system and a full bowel screening service is undertaken on site.


Departmental meetings

  • Weekly colorectal MDT at which all cases of colorectal cancer are discussed pre and post operatively

  • Weekly IBD MDT

  • Weekly unit meetings, morbidity and mortality meeting, radiology meeting


Educational meetings and courses

Educational meetings

  • Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland (ACPGBI)

  • European Society of Coloproctology (ESCP)

  • RSM Coloproctology section meetings

  • Dukes Club Educational Weekend

  • American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS)

  • Tripartite Colorectal Meeting

  • British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG)

  • Association of Surgeons of Great Britain (ASGBI)


  • Steps Ethicon Advanced Laparoscopic Course

  • JAG Endoscopy Training System: Basic Skills in Colonoscopy

  • EAES Laparoscopic Lower GI Surgery Course


Key colorectal guidelines and policies

  • ESMO guidelines for anal cancer (login)
  • Guidelines for the management of large non-pedunculated colorectal polyps (login)
  • Guidelines for the management of hereditary colorectal cancer (login)
  • Laparoscopic peritoneal lavage or sigmoidectomy trial (login)
  • Guidelines for management of anal intraepithelial neoplasia (login)
  • Operative procedures for fissure in ano (login)
  • NICE guideline - Colorectal cancer (login)
  • Post-polypectomy and post-colorectal cancer resection surveillance guidelines (login)
  • Laparoscopic Lavage vs Primary Resection for Acute Perforated Diverticulitis (login)