People are waiting less time to receive a colonoscopy across the South Island, with South Canterbury DHB seeing a significant reduction in waiting times.Belinda Dore, Elective Services Manager for South Canterbury DHB, says a review of their colonoscopy pathway prompted a change of practice and prioritisation of referrals, which in turn resulted in a substantial turnaround for patient waiting times.
“Over the past 18 months in particular, a concerted effort was made to consistently reach all three indicators. We invited Dunedin Hospital gastroenterology department clinical leader, Dr Jason Hill, for support with planning and application, which was invaluable.
“Our local colonoscopy lead, Rene van den Bosch, undertook the role of prioritisation. It was a team effort, but Rene’s leadership is what instituted the change. Meeting the demand for colonoscopies is a key part of preparing for the national Bowel Screening Programme and the roll out into South Canterbury is planned for 2018/19.”In preparation for the national Bowel Screening Programme roll out, the Ministry of Health set three indicators in 2014 to ensure DHBs met set referral times for urgent, non-urgent and surveillance colonoscopy patients. All South Island DHBs are now consistently meeting the indicators.
DHBs that meet the Ministry of Health targets receive extra funding to support the continuation of reduced waiting times and ensure progress is sustained. Mr van den Bosch says a multi-pronged approach was applied. “It’s been a collaborative effort from many different people locally – GPs, surgeons, endoscopists, nursing and administration. It was about ensuring we are seeing the right people within the right timeframes, and we added extra scope lists. A fifth surgeon is also joining us next year, further increasing our capacity.
“Everyone feels great about the progress we’ve made. It’s not just about applying criteria – it’s about momentum – getting everyone on board. And it’s just as important to continue the momentum to keep the ball rolling.”In South Canterbury, the extra Ministry of Health funding will be used to refurbish Timaru Hospital’s endoscopy unit.