Principles of care

Find out more about using the clinical care standards and the principles of care underpinning their use. 

Reporting and follow‑up

Quality statement 9

The colonoscopist communicates the reason for the colonoscopy, its findings, any histology results and recommendations for follow-up in writing to the general practitioner, any other relevant clinician and the patient, and documents this in the facility records. Recommendations for surveillance colonoscopy, if required, are consistent with national evidence-based guidelines. If more immediate treatment or follow-up is needed, appropriate arrangements are made by the colonoscopist.


Quality statement 8

Following recovery and before discharge, the patient is advised verbally and in writing about the preliminary outcomes of the colonoscopy, the nature of any therapeutic interventions or adverse events, when to resume regular activities and medicines, and arrangements for medical follow-up. The patient is discharged into the care of a responsible adult when it is safe to do so.


Quality statement 7

When a patient is undergoing colonoscopy their entire colon – including the caecum – is examined carefully and systematically. The adequacy of bowel preparation, clinical findings, biopsies, polyps removed, therapeutic interventions and details of any adverse events are documented. All polyps removed are submitted for histological examination.


Quality statement 6

A patient’s colonoscopy is performed by a credentialed clinician working within their scope of clinical practice, who meets the requirements of an accepted certification and recertification process. Sedation or anaesthesia, and clinical support are provided by credentialed clinicians working within their scope of clinical practice. 


Quality statement 5

Before colonoscopy, a patient is assessed by an appropriately trained clinician to identify any increased risk, including cardiovascular, respiratory or airway compromise. The sedation is planned accordingly. The risks and benefits of sedation are discussed with the patient. Sedation is administered and the patient is monitored throughout the colonoscopy and recovery period in accordance with Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists guidelines.

Bowel preparation

Quality statement 4

A patient booked for colonoscopy receives a bowel preparation product and dosing regimen individualised to their needs, co-morbidities, regular medicines and previous response to bowel preparation. The importance of good bowel preparation for a quality colonoscopy is discussed with the patient. They are provided with consumer-appropriate instructions on how to use the bowel  preparation product and their understanding is confirmed.

Informed decision making and consent

Quality statement 3

Before starting bowel preparation, a patient receives comprehensive consumer-appropriate information about bowel preparation, the colonoscopy, and sedation or anaesthesia. They have an opportunity to discuss the reason for the colonoscopy, its benefits, risks, financial costs and alternative options before deciding to proceed. Their understanding is assessed, and the information provided and their consent to sedation, colonoscopy and therapeutic intervention is documented.

Appropriate and timely colonoscopy

Quality statement 2

A patient is offered timely colonoscopy when appropriate for screening, surveillance, or the investigation of signs or symptoms of bowel disease, as consistent with national evidence-based guidelines. Decisions are made in the context of the patient’s ability to tolerate the bowel preparation and colonoscopy, and their likelihood of benefit. If colonoscopy is not appropriate, the receiving clinician advises the patient and their referring clinician of alternate recommended management.

Initial assessment and referral

Quality Statement 1

When a patient is referred for consideration of colonoscopy, the referral document provides sufficient information for the receiving clinician to assess the appropriateness, risk and urgency of consultation. The patient is allocated an appointment according to their clinical needs.

Colonoscopy: what you need to know

Find out what you need to know if you are having a colonoscopy. The Colonoscopy Clinical Care Standard describes what you can expect before, during and after a colonoscopy.

Overview of the Clinical Care Standards

Clinical Care Standards can play an important role in delivering appropriate care and reducing unwarranted variation, as they identify and define the care people should expect to be offered or receive, regardless of where they are treated in Australia.

Clinical Care Standards

A Clinical Care Standard is a small number of quality statements that describe the care patients should be offered by health professionals and health services for a specific clinical condition or defined clinical pathway in line with current best evidence.