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James McCourtney: Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon, Glasgow

James McCourtney
James McCourtney: Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, Glasgow

A Consultant Colorectal Surgeon with special interests that include diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopy; colorectal cancer surgery; the surgical management of complex Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis; diverticular disease; and anorectal surgery.  

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James McCourtney has over ten years experience treating private Arabic patients from Egypt, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

He has lectured to postgraduate medical students from several of these countries and worked closely with training grade Egyptian, Iraqi, Syrian and Libyan surgeons. In his previous post in the NHS as a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley he was instrumental in setting up a training fellowship for surgical registrars from Jordan.

With the help of a colleague from Libya acting as translator he has managed to overcome language barriers for those Arabic patients attending his private colorectal clinic who speak little or no English. Attempts are in progress to improve his own rudimentary knowledge of conversational Arabic.

Mr McCourtney's training and experience in colorectal surgery

James McCourtney qualified from the University of Glasgow Medical School in 1988 and trained in surgery in Glasgow, the West of Scotland and London.  His research was in ileoanal pouch surgery at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and he was awarded the degree of MD in 1998.  In 1996 he was awarded the British Journal of Surgery Prize at the Tripartite Colorectal meeting in London for his research work on small bowel pharmacology in ileoanal pouch surgery.  Appointed as Resident Surgical Officer at St Mark’s Hospital in London in 1999, he then took up post as Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley in 1999.

In 2007 Mr McCourtney's research group was awarded the Poster and Oral Presentation Prize at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland for a novel and inexpensive technique to confirm completion and terminal ileal intubation at colonoscopy.  Since December 2007 Mr McCourtney has worked in independent colorectal practice as Scotland’s first full-time private colorectal surgeon.  

Professional qualifications

  • MD: University of Glasgow, 1998

  • FRCS (Gen Surg): Subspecialty interest - colorectal surgery, 1998

  • FRCS (Glasg): 1992

  • MB;ChB: University of Glasgow, 1988

  • BSc (Hons) Pharmacology: University of Glasgow, 1985 

Professional memberships

Clinical interests

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopy

  • Colorectal cancer surgery

  • Colorectal cancer screening and surveillance in high risk groups

  • Diverticular disease

  • Surgery for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

  • Colostomy and ileostomy surgery (problem management, reversal, revision)

  • Benign anorectal conditions (rectal prolapse, haemorrhoids, fissure, fistula, abscess)  

Scottish Colorectal Institute

The Scottish Colorectal Institute

Based at BMI Ross Hall Hospital in Glasgow, the Scottish Colorectal Institute (SCI) has been set up to provide a leading edge service for the full range of benign and malignant colorectal disorders. This initiative recognises the need to provide a dedicated consultant-based treatment centre with specialist nursing support for all colorectal conditions. To this effect, the Institute benefits from the supporting services of two colorectal nurse specialists who work with specialist colorectal surgeons, James McCourtney and Ian Finlay. 

The SCI treats not only major life-threatening colorectal diseases but also embraces those patients with disorders considered by some to be well down the league table of clinical importance.  The Institute is equipped for fast and effective patient care, to provide GPs with the best solution to often distressing but curable colorectal disorders.  

The surgeons at the Institute work in close conjunction with the specialist oncology doctors and nurses in Ross Hall Hospital. As well as being dedicated colorectal surgeons their specialists are also fully trained general surgeons with over thirty years combined consultant experience in all aspects of emergency general surgery. 

Areas of treatment offered

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Colonoscopy

  • Bowel cancer

  • Polyps

  • Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease

  • Diverticular disease

  • Piles

  • Rectal prolapse

  • Anorectal abcess and fistula

  • Pruritus ani

  • Anal fissure

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Other conditions treated at the Scottish Colorectal Institute

Conditions involving the small intestine (middle of the gut) are treated by the Institute's colorectal surgeons, including small bowel Crohn’s disease; rarer tumours both benign and malignant; unusual sources of bleeding; and tumour involvement from other abdominal and pelvic malignancies. Patients undergoing chemotherapy who develop abdominal problems are frequently assessed and operated on when indicated.  Pilonidal sinus, anal warts, anal incontinence along with rarer conditions such as anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN) and anal Paget’s disease are all assessed and treated at the Institute.

Painless colonoscopy

Painless diagnostic and therapeutic telescopic assessment of the colon and rectum (colonoscopy) is performed under Propofol intravenous anaesthesia, usually as a day-case procedure. With completion rates in excess of 95% and a polyp (adenoma) detection rate of 16%, the Institute offers reliable and thorough colonoscopic assessment of the colorectal patient.

Read more about this procedure's success with patients at the Institute, as featured in the Scottish Primary Care journal.

HALO procedure - Daily Mail success story
HALO procedure success story (Click to open article)

First hospital in Scotland to use innovative HALO procedure

In 2007 Ross Hall Hospital became the first hospital in Scotland to offer the HALO procedure, which uses a miniature Doppler ultrasound device to locate all the arteries in the distal rectum which supply the haemorrhoids (piles). The device has a small window which enables a suture to be placed around the artery to interrupt the blood supply. All of the arterial branches are ligated and over the next few weeks the haemorrhoid shrinks with symptom resolution.

The procedure is virtually painless and can be performed under sedation as a day-case or under general anaesthesia. Most patients return to work in 24-48 hours and many require no postoperative analgesia. The HALO procedure has been performed in Europe for several years with excellent results. It is ideal for painful, bleeding haemorrhoids and a modification of the technique (haemorrhoidal artery ligation and rectoanal repair, HALRAR), can now be used to treat some cases of prolapsing haemorrhoids successfully. The HALO procedure represents an important advance in haemorrhoidal surgery.

Typical fees for treatment

  • New consultation (30 minutes): £195 - £225

  • Return consultation: £130

Where can I get treatment?

The Scottish Colorectal Institute

BMI Ross Hall Hospital
221 Crookston Road
G52 3NQ

Ross Hall hospital, Glasgow

Contact details

Tel: 0808 101 0346
Fax: 0141 882 6326

Email: info@scotcri.co.uk 
Colorectal nurse specialist: egrabham@bmihealthcare.co.uk

Scottish Colorectal Institute: View the SCI website
BMI Ross Hall Hospital: View Ross Hall on the BMI website

GMC Number:


Check this doctor's GMC registration

Date of registration:

 06 Sep 1989


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