LOUTH County Hospital is one of 15 candidate colonoscopy units that have been initially selected to provide a colorectal cancer screening programme.
The National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS), part of the HSE National Cancer Control Programme, sought expressions of interest in January 2010 from all publicly funded hospitals that wished to be considered as a screening colonoscopy unit as part of a national programme.
Thirty one hospitals in total expressed an interest. The HSE through the NCSS commissioned baseline assessment visits in those units. Following the assessment 15 candidate colonoscopy units have been initially selected to provide the colonoscopy requirements to the programme.
The following 15 units have been selected as initial candidate screening colonoscopy units: Louth County Hospital, Dundalk; Cavan General Hospital; Connolly Hospital, Dublin; Kerry General Hospital, Tralee; Letterkenny General Hospital; Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar; Mercy University Hospital, Cork; Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore; Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Ennis; Sligo General Hospital; South Tipperary General Hospital, Clonmel; St James’s Hospital, Dublin; St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin; The Adelaide and Meath Hospital Dublin incorporating the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght and Wexford General Hospital.
Achieving confirmed status as a screening colonoscopy unit will be contingent upon these 15 sites demonstrating sufficient capacity, reducing waiting times for all endoscopy procedures, adherence to clinical performance targets, quality standards and meeting accreditation requirements as determined by the NCSS Quality Assurance Committee during the course of 2011 and 2012.
The remaining units will focus on patients who are referred with symptoms. Under the programme, men and women aged 60-69 will be offered a free home testing kit known as a FIT test. Approximately 94 to 95 per cent of people who take part in the programme will receive a normal FIT test result and will be offered another home testing kit in a further two years.
Approximately five to six per cent of people screened will receive a result that will require an additional test. They will be referred for a screening programme colonoscopy (an investigation of the lining of the bowel).
In Ireland, colorectal cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common fatal cancer among men and women.