MUH loses bowel cancer accreditation due to lengthy wait time

MUH loses bowel cancer accreditation due to lengthy wait time
Mercy University Hospital.Pic; Larry Cummins

A CORK hospital has lost its quality assurance mark for standards and performance in relation to bowel screening, it has been revealed.

The Mercy University Hospital, one of 14 hospitals that carry out the BowelScreen colonoscopies programme, has lost its accreditation and has indicated that high demand is the main reason.

BowelScreen operates by sending a home test to people aged 60-69, requesting they send stool samples back and testing these samples. The HSE said that accreditation was removed because of waiting times at the hospital, with Galway University Hospital also stripped of its accreditation for the same reason.

In a statement to the Echo, the Mercy Hospital confirmed this. “In April 2016, JAG (Joint Advisory Group accreditation standards) advised the hospital that accreditation was not re-awarded due to the hospital’s inability to meet waiting list performance targets for routine patients which are 13 weeks,” a spokesperson said.

He added that the hospital is meeting the four-week requirement for urgent patients.

“In the interim, additional resources have been secured for the MUH Endoscopy Service which has improved waiting times.

“MUH has undertaken a number of waiting list initiatives, both insourced and in conjunction with private hospitals, SIVUH and Mallow General Hospital.”

The hospital has also recently successfully recruited an additional Consultant Medical Gastroenterologist and has made application to the HSE’s National Capital Steering Committee for a capital expansion.

The spokesperson explained that, while MUH is rigorous in its management and audit of waiting lists, the hospital, as the Regional Centre for Gastroenterology, faces “ongoing challenges in respect of compliance” with waiting lists due to high demand.

The hospital is in the process of applying for the new Irish JAG Accreditation process for endoscopy units in the Republic of Ireland.

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