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Westmead Hospital

Rapid Access Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) Clinic

One of the core services provided by Westmead Hospital's Endoscopy Department is high quality screening examinations for patients referred as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

To improve timely access to this service we have developed a rapid access clinic for patients with positive faecal occult blood tests.


Information for health professionals

What services does the FOBT Clinic provide?

The Rapid Access FOBT Clinic triages referrals of positive FOBT patients from primary referrers.

Asymptomatic patients who have returned a positive FOBT are assessed at the FOBT Clinic by a specialty nurse.

After assessment, eligible patients undergo colonoscopy at Auburn Hospital or Westmead Hospital. Education on bowel preparation and diet preparation for the colonoscopy is provided at the clinic.

The endoscopy report and the pathology report of the colonoscopy, together with the discharge instructions, are faxed to the referring doctor soon after the procedure. Patients only follow up at the Gastroenterology Clinic if it is necessary.

Can I refer symptomatic patients to the clinic?

The Rapid Access FOBT Clinic is for patients who experience no symptoms but return a positive faecal occult blood test for bowel cancer screening.

Patients with any gastrointestinal symptoms or any alarm features are not seen in the FOBT Clinic - they are managed through Westmead Hospital's general Gastroenterology Clinic instead.

How do I refer a patient to the clinic?


Fax or email completed referral forms along with the information listed below* to:

Fax icon(02) 8890 5118

Fax icon WSLHD-Westmead-FOBT@health.nsw.gov.au

*Please include the following information when faxing or emailing the referral form:

  • patient’s health summary
  • list of patient’s current medication
  • FOBT pathology result
  • most recent blood test results including full blood count and iron studies
  • relevant imaging results and any previous endoscopy results or reports

Phone IconFor FOBT Clinic enquiries please call 0439 702 568.

Can I refer symptomatic patients to the clinic?

The Rapid Access FOBT Clinic is for patients who experience no symptoms but return a positive faecal occult blood test for bowel cancer screening.

For all symptomatic patients, please fax referrals to (02) 8890 8333 (the general Gastroenterology Clinic). They will be given first priority for clinic appointments.

Will it cost my patient anything to attend the clinic?

All patients with a current Medicare Card will be bulk billed. Patients without a valid Medicare Card will be charged the schedule fee.

Who will my patient see when they attend the clinic?

Dr Nicholas Burgess - Gastroenterologist

Betty Lo - Clinical Nurse Consultant

Useful links

Visit the LinkWestern Sydney HealthPathways website for more information about screening and surveillance programs for bowel cancer in asymptomatic patients.

To access this information on the HealthPathways site, follow the pathway outlined below by clicking on the following options from the left hand menu:
Medical > Gastroenterology and Hepatology > Bowel Cancer Screening and Surveillance


Information for patients

Why is bowel cancer screening so important?

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related death in Australia. Most bowel cancer starts with a small growth of tissue called a polyp on the bowel wall lining.

Polyps can change into a cancerous tumour if not detected and removed early. Bowel cancer is highly preventable. Bowel cancers that are detected early by screening have very good treatment outcomes.

People who have pre-cancerous polyps or people who are at the early stage of bowel cancer may not have any symptoms. Some people may only develop symptoms when cancer is advanced. Early detection and removal of pre-cancerous polyps through bowel screening is therefore extremely important for all people asymptomatic people aged 50-74 years. If you do have symptoms of rectal bleeding or abdominal pain, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

What is a faecal occult blood test (FOBT)?

A faecal occult blood test (FOBT) is a simple test you can do at home. It involves taking tiny samples of stool from separate bowel motions. Stool samples are sent to the laboratory via the mail.

This test can detect traces of blood which may not be visible in bowel movements. The result will be sent to you and your nominated family doctor.

The free test kit is mailed to people age 50-74 every two years via the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP). If you have not received a kit and are in the screening age range, you can contact the NBCSP and they will send you a kit in the mail. A non-NBCSP faecal occult blood test kit can also be obtained from your family doctor or directly purchased from the chemist.

What should I do once I receive my test results?

The result will be mailed to you and your nominated family doctor in around two weeks.

If the result is negative (i.e. if there are no traces of blood in the stool), you just need to perform another FOBT in two years time. However, if you develop symptoms before the next test is due, you should always contact your family doctor for advice.

If the result is positive, that means traces of blood were detected. It is important that you talk to your doctor about further investigation.

How do I get a referral to the FOBT Clinic?

You will need a referral letter from your general practitioner (GP) or specialist practitioner to access the clinic. Your doctor will need to fax your referral letter to us.

You will receive an appointment letter for the first consultation in the mail. Please ensure that you read this letter thoroughly and contact us if you have questions or concerns.

Will it cost me anything to attend the FOBT Clinic?

All patients with a current Medicare Card will be bulk billed.

Patients without a valid Medicare Card will be charged the schedule fee and will be required to attend the Cashiers Office. Please allow additional time prior to your appointment for this. The Cashiers Office is located in the main corridor on Level 2 of the hospital (near the Post Office).

What should I bring to my appointment?

  • Medicare card
  • a list of medications you are currently taking (or the boxes). Please include any medicines you have bought without a prescription, such as herbal supplements and vitamins
  • your completed Patient Health Questionnaire. You will receive a copy of the questionnaire with your appointment letter
  • your specialist’s details and the date of your last visit (if appropriate)

How do I get to the FOBT Clinic?

The FOBT Clinic is held every Friday from 2:00pm to 4:30pm.

We are located at Clinic G, Level 1, University Clinic, Westmead Hospital.

Instructions on how to get to Westmead Hospital are provided with your appointment letter. You can also find information about parking and public transport options by visiting the Getting to Westmead Hospital webpage.

Useful links


Contact us

FOBT Clinic contact details

Phone Icon0439 702 568 (Monday, Tuesday & Friday from 08:30am to 5:00pm)

Fax icon(02) 8890 5118

Fax iconWSLHD-Westmead-FOBT@health.nsw.gov.au


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