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Bold Plan to Deliver Increase in Surveillance Colonoscopies

Monday 6 March, 2017

Bold Plan to Deliver Increase in Surveillance Colonoscopies

An ambitious plan aims to raise the number of publicly-funded surveillance colonoscopies performed in the Bay by more than 50% in the coming year.

“We currently deliver around 200 colonoscopies a month,” said Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Chief Operating Officer Pete Chandler. “Over the coming year we are aiming to deliver over 100 additional colonoscopies a month on top of those. That’s a 50+% increase month-on-month for the next 12 months.”

The additional procedures will be carried out through extra weekday and weekend sessions at Tauranga Hospital, Whakatane Hospital and some private facilities including Grace Hospital.

“It’s a bold and ambitious plan,” said Mr Chandler. “We have just had our best ever Emergency Department performance, we’re on track to meet the new cancer targets this year, and so we’ve been looking at other areas where our performance needs specific improvement focus to best support the communities we serve.”

Mr Chandler said surveillance colonoscopy performance was an area where the DHB had previously been challenged by the level of need and this move was aimed at addressing that. “We have one of the highest rates of colonoscopy referral in New Zealand,” he said.

“I’m happy to say that we have now recruited additional gastroenterologists and have a great, expanded, team in place. We’ve just opened our third endoscopy procedure room and have also put a programme of improvements in place which is already showing results. As a consequence the percentage of urgent diagnostic colonoscopies treated within 14 days has risen to 85% from 40% over the last 12 months.”

Mr Chandler said the work would put the Bay of Plenty in great shape ahead of the National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP) rollout locally in 2019. The NBSP will offer bowel screening every two years to people aged between 60 to 74 years.

Those currently waiting for a surveillance colonoscopy are asked to do the following:

1) Tell the BOPDHB if you move house or your contact information changes.
2) Tell the BOPDHB if your health has changed or you no longer want surveillance colonoscopy.
3) If your symptoms have changed go back and see your GP as that may result in you being seen sooner.

If you need to contact the BOPDHB for the above, please call the Patient Information Line on 0800 333 477.

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