Gastroenterology Department

Haere mai, Welcome

Thank you for looking at the Christchurch Hospital Gastroenterology career page. We are of the biggest gastroenterology units in New Zealand serving a population of 650,000 and have a well established and successful training programme in gastroenterology.

Why specialise in Gastroenterology?

Gastroenterology is an exciting and popular career choice. It combines the physician’s approach of careful clinical assessment with a wide range of procedures and therapeutic interventions. Gastroenterology covers a huge field which includes disorder of the oesophagus, stomach, intestine, liver, pancreas and nutrition. There is a wide age range of patients. Care is delivered in a range of settings from acute emergency hospital based care through to a large number of day and outpatients. A career in gastroenterology offers good opportunities to sub-specialise in an area of interest, to develop research and teaching programmes and also is very amenable to part time practice. In addition to full specialty training, a 3-4 month clinical attachment in gastroenterology as a house officer or junior registrar is excellent experience for any medical career.

Career prospects

Career prospects have never been better for gastroenterologists. There are many current vacancies in New Zealand both for full and part time gastroenterologists. With the increase in inflammatory bowel disease, liver problems and the planned national roll out of the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme it is anticipated that the number of gastroenterologists required in New Zealand could increase by between 50-100% over the next 10-20 years. As well as a full training programme, we also offer short (3-4 month) attachments for House Officers and Junior Registrars which are invaluable for subsequent careers as general practitioners or general physicians. An initial short attachment is also an excellent way to see if gastroenterology may be the career for you.

Medical Staff in our Service
The service has 15 gastroenterologists (senior medical officers or SMOs). The SMOs have an excellent skill mix and sub-speciality interests. There are three registrar positions. Two of these registrars are advanced training appointments (ie post FRACP part 1) and one is a rotating position (four month attachment). We have one house surgeon position with attachments of three months. Currently there are two research fellows.

All about our service

We are a large busy service servicing a local population of approximately 650,000 people and providing tertiary services to the rest of the South Island.

Our inpatient service is based in Ward B5. The inpatient load varies, generally between 10-20 patients per team and the main inpatient conditions are severe inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, cancer or gastrointestinal bleeding.

Registrars cover acute admissions, inpatient consults and general practitioner enquires during the day after hours cover for the service is on a medical specialities roster that the gastroenterology registrars participate in. Registrars attend consultant’s outpatient clinics (2 or 3 per week) and see a full range of ambulatory gastroenterology conditions under supervision. The service performs 7-8,000 endoscopic procedures a year incorporating the full range of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (gastroscopy, colonoscopy, enteroscopy, ERCP, endoscopic ultrasound).

Advanced trainees are trained in gastroscopy and colonoscopy and gain experience in more advanced endoscopy according to stage and progress. The rotating registrar may also gain experience in gastroscopy during their four month attachment if they wish and are post FRAP part 1. Gastroenterology also offers manomety, capsule endoscopy, nurse lead specialist clinics (hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrostomy). Trainees gain experience with all these services in a structured way.

The House Officer primarily provides cover for the inpatient but also attends two outpatient clinics per week and gains wide experience in the management of both in and outpatient gastroenterology conditions.

SMO supportf

Our registrars and house officer are well supported by the SMOs. There is good cover provided by the consultants and there is an acute consultant available 24 hours a day. All clinical and procedural training is closely supervised. We provide regular feedback and review of the training programme according to progress and need. There is a designated training coordinator to offer guidance and mentorship.


The gastroenterology unit at Christchurch Hospital is the most academically and research active unit in New Zealand and is very well respected internationally. There are three SMOs with academic appointments and three other SMOs have PhDs. There is a range of clinical and basic research in the department and good opportunities to engage in projects that result in presentations and publications. This research experience has given our previous trainees an advantage when applying for consultant positions.

Training in our service and advantages of training in Christchurch

The gastroenterology department at Christchurch hospital has a long standing tradition and commitment to quality training in gastroenterology. We have trained many registrars who now have consultant posts both in New Zealand and overseas.

The reasons to choose Christchurch as a training post are:

  • Large unit with a large undifferentiated clinical load
  • A comprehensive clinical service with trainee exposure to all aspects
  • A well developed and successful training programme
  • A commitment to trainees for a quality training experience
  • An active research programme that all trainees take part in resulting in presentations at meetings and publications
  • Accredited for two years of full time training



Professor Catherine Stedman
Clinical Director, Gastroenterology
Christchurch Hospital

Michael Awadalla
Service Manager, Gastroenterology
Christchurch Hospital

Other useful contacts are:

Dr Heidi Su

Prof Catherine Stedman, Prof Richard Gearry, Prof Murray Barclay
Research Programmes and Opportunities

Current SMO

  • Dr Malcolm Arnold
  • Prof Murray Barclay
  • Dr Michael Burt
  • Dr Teresa Chalmers-Watson
  • Dr Bruce Chapman
  • Dr Steven Ding
  • Dr James Falvey
  • Dr Heidi Su
  • Dr Jan Kubovy
  • Prof Richard Gearry
  • Dr Gary Lim
  • Dr Jeffrey Ngu
  • Dr Raj Patel
  • Dr Alison Ross
  • Dr Vivek Tharayil
  • Prof Catherine Stedman


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