Marathon helps patients faster

2017-11-14 06:00

In a bid to clear a backlog, staff of the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital held a gastroscopy marathon on Friday last week.

From 07:30 to 15:00, with the help of equipment sponsored by First Medical Company, the doctors completed 75 procedures.

At 08:00 more than 90 patients had been booked in.

Currently the hospital performs between 160 and 190 scopes per month. To ensure there is no backlog, this number should increase to around 300, says Dr Jacek Marszalek, medical manager of the hospital.

“We have only one machine and it is around five years old. We have other equipment but only one functioning light source and so the equipment we have is just enough to do 150 per month,” he says.

He is grateful to First Medical Company for its help in the marathon. He urges more companies to partner with the hospital to see a reduction in the backlog.

Nothing too serious was found among the majority of patients during the marathon on Friday.

“We run the service five days per week and work on a referral basis. Most procedures take around five minutes, but if we find something we need to treat, it will take longer,” he says.

“We do what we can but there are cases we do not want to delay. A three-month delay with cancers can mean the disease has a longer time to spread and develop.”

Scopes are used to diagnose a variety of ailments, including ulcers, cancer and internal bleeding.

Waiting listsDr Thomas Crede, head of medicine at the hospital, says scopes are important when patients have worrying symptoms.

“Health services all over are under strain and waiting lists for outpatient procedures, such as scopes and CT scans, grow because there is less of a priority.

“We got to a stage where our waiting list was around three to four months for a scope at the hospital,” he says.

“I felt there was enough goodwill at the hospital to have one big blitz and clear some of that backlog. Today we scoped more than 75 people and that moved the waiting list from three months to less than a month. Perhaps this should become a more regular event – around twice a year – so that our waiting list is kept under control.”

He adds that there is no specific age for a scope but it is done when worrying symptoms arise.

“Older persons at risk of cancers waiting longer to have their ailments diagnosed can be compressed to a shorter waiting period and on a list much quicker, which speeds up the diagnosis and treatment,” he says.


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