JAG is aware that there is an increasingly significant and persistent challenge with waiting times in endoscopy. This has arisen primarily from an increase in demand and has caused:
- Challenges in endoscopy services’ ability to achieve and maintain accreditation
- Patients to wait beyond acceptable limits for endoscopy
- Increased pressure on the delivery of screening programmes.
JAG recognises the unprecedented strain on endoscopy services and wants to offer the right support and guidance to ensure patients continue to receive their endoscopy in a timely fashion. JAG has shown an increasing degree of flexibility and reasonable tolerance with services struggling to achieve standards on access and booking. Additionally, given the challenges described, JAG has agreed the following solutions to address these issues:
- Surveillance practice
- Waiting time tolerances
- List validation
- Referral criteria
- Post Colonoscopy Colorectal Cancers (PCCRC)
- Operating practices
It is ultimately for hospitals locally to determine the appropriate arrangements for each individual patient, but this must consider achieving the best clinical outcomes for patients. This includes complying where appropriate with NICE quality standards and evidence based guidelines and following a risk stratification approach as outlined above.
We ask you to work with your endoscopy clinical lead and senior management team to ensure all options for improved management of waiting times and validation of surveillance cases are being implemented. Sustaining a low wait service is a key factor in achieving and maintaining JAG accreditation and in providing high-quality and responsive care to patients.