Letterkenny hospital could be national centre

Letterkenny General Hospital has been selected as one of the initial candidate screening colonoscopy units. Sligo hospital has also been selected.

The two north west hospitals are among 15 candidate colonoscopy centres that will support the national colorectal cancer screening programme, which will be introduced in early 2012.

The selection is aimed at two key objectives: Identifying the hospitals best placed to take on an additional colonoscopy workload of 10 – 12 colonoscopies per week and ensuring an equitable geographical spread of screening centres, with most people living no further than 80 kilometres from a centre. “The colorectal cancer screening programme will save lives and will reduce the misery that colorectal cancer causes to hundreds of Irish families each year. Despite the financial challenges facing our health system we will continue to implement programmes of proven cost effectiveness” said the Tánaiste.

An equally important announcement last week relates to the quality improvement programme which is underway in all publicly funded endoscopy services nationally. The independent assessment of endoscopy services in hospitals has identified areas for improvement which are being addressed by the HSE.

Noting the progress made in many endoscopy units around the country the Tánaiste said “the progress made in assisting all units attain and adhere to quality standards is an excellent example of how a national system-wide approach, providing clear standards and guidance can improve the delivery of healthcare in the public health sector. I look forward to incremental progress across all endoscopy units towards attaining and maintaining accreditation standards”.