PATIENTS from North Tipperary who will require bowel cancer screening will use a new facility to be opened in Ennis Hoispital, according to the HSE after Ennis Hospital’s endoscopy service was approved by a top level accreditation body.
The accreditation mopens the way for the introduction of bowel cancer screening at the hospital for the people of the Mid West. The endorsement was given by the British-based Joint Advisory Group or JAG which is the standards body for endoscopy throughout Britain’s National Health Service.
Bowel cancer affects 1,900 Irish people per year, and is slightly more common in men. There is good evidence that screening healthy members of the population
for traces of blood hidden in their bowel motion can reduce the chance of them developing bowel cancer or can detect a cancer before it has caused any symptoms,
The news means that Ennis Hospital is the first in the new Mid Western RegionalHospitals Group to be officially certified as meeting the highest international standards for endoscopy.
The process began in Ennis in June 2010 when the new €1.5m endoscopy suite was at planning stage. A working group representing medical and surgical consultants, nursing and hospital management was established to make Ennis a centre for bowel cancer screening. The work involved reaching a prescribed level on the Global Rating Scale, which is an internationally recognized system for documenting and raising standards in endoscopy units which is used through out Britain, as well as in many European countries. This involved examining and developing what was done in Ennis to get a safe and patient-centered clinical environment, high technical standards for all the equipment, effective management of the medical and nursing work force and improved processes for managing waiting lists. Ennis hospital has been given this accreditation as it has reached level B on the GRS, a number of endoscopy units in Ireland have not reached the lowest level D on the GRS.
People found to have cancer and will be fast tracked to surgery in the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick. This hospital already does more colorectal cancer surgery than any other hospital in the country so it has considerable expertise in this area. In addition, the vast majority of people who have bowel surgery in MWRH have it done laparoscopically (“key hole surgery”). This means that hospital stays are shorter and post operative issues like infections or wound pain are less common.
Consultant gastroenterologist Dr Maeve Skelly commented : “This is a great development for the people of the Mid West. Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland, and we have known for some time that screening for it can prevent cancers and save lives.”