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Bowel Cancer Screening Program

ound that waiting times for patients having semi-urgent and routine colonoscopies in public hospitals were longer than clinically desirable, but waiting times for urgent colonoscopies were well within the recommended timeframe.

Dr Viiala suggests reduced waiting times could be achieved by increasing the capacity and productivity of endoscopic units or by ensuring the appropriateness of procedures, for example by stricter adherence to guidelines for surveillance colonoscopies.

“The recognition of risk factors for a diagnosis of cancer, including age over 65 years and certain blood-loss indications, could ensure that most patients with cancer are diagnosed within a three month waiting period,” says Dr Viiala.

Associate Professor Cameron Platell of the School of Surgery and Pathology at the University of Western Australia, and colleagues, conducted a study into survival rates of colorectal cancer patients in public versus private hospitals.

They found patients receiving treatment in a private hospital had improved survival outcomes compared with those treated in public hospitals.

“If these observed improvements are a result of superior treatment, and not just patient selection, then they raise serious concerns regarding equity and access to treatment,” says Assoc Prof Platell.

“The reasons for these improved survival outcomes in private hospitals need to be further elucidated.”

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