A delayed cancer diagnosis could be facing 121 people, with potentially devastating implications for their survival, because the HSE is refusing to fund an innovative rapid urology model developed at Roscommon Hospital, states Denis Naughten.
“Approximately 1,350 patients of the 9,000 long waiting list for urology are passing blood and urgently need to be assessed by a consultant. But some urgent cases are taking 6-12 months to get an appointment,” stated Denis Naughten.
“Under the current model of care this is just the first of 4 appointments but through a new model of diagnosis developed at Roscommon Hospital - which is now being mothballed by the HSE - patients received results within 28 days of referral from their GP.
“Urology patients are on one of the biggest hospital waiting lists in the country with approximately 9,000 patients. Yet this new Roscommon model, which can slash the number of urgent appointments needed from 5,400 to just 1,350 allowing for more routine cases to be treated, is being mothballed at Roscommon Hospital and stopped from being rolled out nationally by the HSE.
“In fact the Roscommon model, if fully implemented, could see waiting lists for urology cleared completely, dramatically improving the quality of life for the one in three people over the age of 65 who suffer from incontinence.
“The main cancers diagnosed as a result of blood in urine are bladder and kidney cancer in about 9% of cases of those passing blood, which is approximately 121 of the patients on the current national waiting list.
“But time is key to a good outcome with the survival rate for bladder cancer dropping from 77% to just 5% over a 5 year period depending on how quickly it is diagnosed.
“Last September the HSE and the Royal College of Surgeons lauded the new rapid access service developed at Roscommon Hospital saying that this was the future for smaller hospitals. Yet now we find that the new service, which can save lives as well as save the HSE significant funds treating patients, is to be stopped with no apparent reason being given by HSE management,” concluded Denis Naughten.