Public Affairs Ireland | Training and Development | Conferences

The HSE’S National Cancer Screening Service announced the selection of 15 colonoscopy centres around the country.  These centres will support the national colorectal cancer screening programme due to be introduced in 2012. The announcement coincides with the launch by the European Commission of its first edition of the European Guidelines in Quality Assurance in Colorectal Cancer Screening and Diagnosis.

Selection of suitable hospitals was based on those best able to handle the additional workload and to ensure an even geographical spread of centres. This screening programme, the first cancer screening programme initiated in Ireland to include males, is high on the list of priorities for the Irish health system as it will facilitate both the detection of cancers earlier and the prediction of pre-cancerous growths. Close to 59,000 colonoscopies were carried out in Irish public hospitals in 2008. Furthermore, this form of cancer is the cause of over 900 deaths every year.  By its implementation in 2012, a reduction of 14.7 percent in instances of and 36 percent in mortality from colorectal cancer would be expected. Despite the financial challenges of the Government, the Tanaiste and Minister for Health and Children noted that “we will continue to implement programmes of proven cost effectiveness.”

In addition to this, the launch of a quality improvement programme for publicly funded endoscopy services nationally was also announced yesterday. The programme will focus on areas that need improving following previous assessments so that patients can be assured of the highest quality services in symptomatic services and in the upcoming screening programme.