In a strongly-worded statement, the charity said a large number of people are waiting more than three months for a colonoscopy – a procedure used to check for bowel cancer and other conditions.
A record number of people are waiting over three months for a colonoscopy, according to new figures from the Irish Cancer Society.
It said 149 people are waiting more than three months for the procedure at Letterkenny General.
The statistics come at a time when millions of euros worth of cuts are being made right across medical disciplines at the hospital. This is despite the fact the hospital is one of the most efficient in the country with cost-per-patient analysis showing it costs up to €1,000 less for each patient treated there compared to hospitals like Sligo General.
There are growing fears over the ability of the hospital to provide 24/7 A&E services AND make the cuts ordered by Health Minister Dr James Reilly.
Kathleen O’ Meara of the Irish Cancer Society said there was no reason why people should be waiting more than three months for a colonoscopy.
Ms O’ Meara said the waiting list had to be dealt with in advance of the planned start of a national bowel-cancer screening programme on a phased basis next year.
The ICS is to meet with the National Cancer Screening Service to discuss the issue.
The society said it was encouraged by the changed role of the National Treatment Purchase Fund, which is to target particular backlogs, rather than accept routine referrals of patients waiting more than three months and said that this should help reduce the bowel-cancer screening waiting list.
“There is no reason that people should be waiting more than three months for a colonoscopy and this has to be dealt with urgently in advance of bowel cancer screening,” she added.
The Health Service Executive says it has put in place a plan which will see an extra 3,000 colonoscopies and related checks take place by the end of the year in hospitals where there are waiting lists.
It also says that all urgent colonoscopies are performed within four weeks.Tags: