Gastroenterology & Hepatology


The Paediatric Gastroenterology Team provides specialised, multi-disciplinary care to babies, children and adolescents with a range of gastro-intestinal, liver, and complex nutritional problems.  We care for inpatients as well as providing an outpatient clinic service based at John Hunter Children’s Hospital.  We also provide a consultation service throughout the Hunter New England Local Health District and Northern NSW.

What kinds of problems do we deal with?

The Paediatric Gastroenterology Department provides a comprehensive service including assessment and management of:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Coeliac disease
  • Malabsorption (including parenteral nutrition) and chronic diarrhoea
  • Short gut, intestinal motility disorders
  • Oesophageal disorders
  • Complicated failure to thrive
  • Acute and chronic liver disease
  • Chronic viral hepatitis (Hepatitis B and C)
  • Pancreatic disorders
  • Other complex GI and nutritional problems.
Medical issues that do not require gastroenterology services

Referrals that do not require the specialist services of the John Hunter Children's Hospital gastroenterology team include constipation, chronic abdominal pain and infant reflux. These medical problems can often be assisted by a General Practitioner or General Paediatrician. Referrals for constipation, soiling (encopresis) or infant reflux can only be accepted from a paediatrician. 

Specialist staff

Dr Scott Nightingale (Paediatric Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist – diagnoses and treats gastrointestinal and liver conditions, and performs procedures such as upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, colonoscopy, and liver biopsy).

Ms Elizabeth Notaras (Nurse Practitioner – coordinates the care of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, those with enteral feeding devices, and performs oesophageal pH studies).

Ms Deirdre Burgess (Paediatric Dietitian – provides assessment and advice on nutritional management, including that of coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, complex failure to thrive and short bowel syndrome to patients within our service).

Paediatric Gastroenterology Registrar - is a junior Doctor who works as part of our team under the supervision of Dr Nightingale, and is usually training to be a Paediatrician. This position changes every 3-6 months.

How do I make an appointment?

Referrals are accepted from any Doctor, however due to the large number of referrals, we cannot accept referrals for constipation, soiling (encopresis) or infant reflux from GPs.  The urgency of a referral is based on the information provided in the Doctor’s referral. 

Many people are waiting for an appointment in our clinics.  If you are offered an appointment and cannot make it, please notify the clinics as soon as possible, so that others may be offered the appointment. If you do not attend an appointment, or cancel at late notice, it may be some time before another appointment can be offered due to service demand.

Contact Us

Your doctor may make a referral to our clinic by faxing a letter to (02)49 223904. The clinic can be contacted on (02)49 213750.