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Health Information and Quality Authority publish evaluation report - Colorectal cancer
In June 2009 the Health, Information and Quality Authority (“HIQA”) published a report on a population-based colorectal cancer screening programme. On the same day, the Minister for Health asked HIQA to examine the feasibility of introducing the screening programme using existing resources.
On 15 January 2010, HIQA published a Report that informed the Government decision to fund the introduction of a colorectal cancer screening programme which, when fully implemented, is anticipated to save approximately 300 lives per year. Over recent years, widely fluctuating figures (provided by the HSE) have suggested that the wait for public patients who have symptoms of colon cancer (including bleeding, constipation, diarrhoea, pain) can be six months or longer.
The new national screening programme, which is being partially underwritten by the Irish Cancer Society is, for reasons of cost-effectiveness, being aimed initially at the elderly. Dr Máirin Ryan, Director of Health Technology Assessment at HIQA concluded that the introduction of such a programme is possible through a number of initiatives, namely:
- A change in the costs associated with professional services within the existing national population-based cancer screening programmes;
- Use of existing administrative resources within the National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS);
- The training of additional clinical staff;
- Optimising the use of resources and hospital infrastructure;
- Extending working days for services; and
- Consideration of mechanisms to include private health insurance funding.