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Private company engaged to assist BowelScreen colonoscopies

At least 90 per cent of BowelScreen clients with a positive faecal immunochemical test (FIT) result should be offered a colonoscopy within a four-week time-frame.

However, a BowelScreen paper in September 2017 warned that increasing numbers of patients were being treated “within a six-week wait, or beyond”. BowelScreen engaged the services of UK company Medinet for 10 weekends in 2017 and five weekends to date in 2018, according to the spokesperson. 

In October 2017, then Head of the National Screening Service Mr Charles O’Hanlon emailed the General Manager of Wexford General Hospital (WGH) Ms Lily Byrnes advising her that BowelScreen had reviewed the KPIs from Medinet and provided feedback “on these and the performance expectation to Medinet”, according to internal correspondence accessed by MI under Freedom of Information law. 

Ms Byrnes thanked Mr O’Hanlon for the update and for “clearly stating that Medinet are taking governance of their work”. She added that “at our meeting this morning, having provided the assurances to the group, the following issues were raised again by [redacted…], specifically as follows: 1. The number of scopes per day may be too many at 10; 2. Polyp detection rate is 30 per cent lower than our WGH NCSS Endoscopist; 3. Histology MDM is currently delayed to five weeks locally due to additional volume, as we usually achieve a two-week target.”

The HSE’s spokesperson said: “BowelScreen is happy with the standard of colonoscopies provided by Medinet. The ADR [adenoma detection rate] and CIR [caecal intubation rate] are above the Programme quality assurance minimum KPI standards. Workload is deemed to be achievable.”

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