MEDIA RELEASES

Second endoscopy room reduces wait time for Northlanders

The vacated oncology space at Whangarei Hospital outpatients has been put to good use with a new endoscopy room that was opened this week.

Wait times for non-urgent colonoscopy at Whangarei Hospital steadily climbed last year because of capacity constraints and specialist vacancies. The second facility will enable the wait time for patients to be no more than one month by the end of October.

“Any investigation that potentially involves cancer is a very anxious time for patients”, explains Andrew Potts, general manager clinical services.

“If we can make sure that these investigations can be done within a month it is much better for our patients which is what we are all about”.

Colorectal cancer is one of the more common cancers, and bowel screening, an evidence based preventive measure, is likely to be rolled out in New Zealand from 2017.

“Screening that identifies the pre cancer stage is well evidenced and enables treatment to take place earlier, even a tumor can be operated on earlier which may provide an improved outcome for our patients”.

The capital investment of $100K, to modifying the room, has been a modest cost and gives the DHB the flexibility to scale up the number of endoscopy sessions as required, as well have more capacity on an on-going basis.

Colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon). He or she uses a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope to look at the colon. A colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding.

A further development is the additional CT colonography service that has been made possible with the new CT scanner installed at Whangarei Hospital this year.  A CT colonography is an alternative to colonoscopy for low risk patients, and is now available locally.

“CT colonography is cheaper, easier, and less unpleasant and for the right patients is a better way to be investigated.  Up to 40% of our patients are undergoing CT colonography rather than colonoscopy which is an important development that will benefit patients”, Mr Potts said.  




Left to right – Suzanne Hogg, Surgeon Mr Mark Sanders, Laura Mills with Mr Rian Roberts, the first patient to benefit from the new endoscopy room
(photo - Liz Inch)







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