Endoscopy unit1.jpgA new Endoscopy Unit has opened at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle to help ease patient waiting lists.

The £1.2m modular unit will aim to see 500 patients a month over a six month period. The procedures that take place in the unit will help diagnose and monitor a range of different conditions.

An endoscopy is a procedure where organs inside your body are looked at using a long, thin, flexible tube that has a light and camera at one end called an endoscope. Images of the inside of your body are shown on a television screen.

The waiting list for the Endoscopy services has increased due to the impact of Covid-19 and also because advances in the service means there is more demand for it across more conditions.

Deborah Gibson, lead nurse endoscopist at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC), explains: “Despite the best efforts of our teams at both the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital, we have struggled to keep up with the demands on our service.

“During the initial phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, nationally, we were asked to only carry out urgent procedures for cancer patients and gastrointestinal bleeds. This meant our waiting list for less urgent diagnostic, surveillance and therapeutic patients grew. In addition, there has been a five per cent year-on-year increase in demand for Endoscopy services across the country.”

The new unit is being run independently by Remedy Healthcare staff who have worked with the NCIC team to ensure their processes and protocols are in the line with those of the Trust. The self-contained unit has new equipment; a treatment room; a reception area; admission and preparation room and recovery space.

Oliver Bailey, Director of Remedy Healthcare Solutions, said:

“The whole team at Remedy Healthcare Solutions is delighted to be working collaboratively with North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust to reduce the backlog of patients awaiting endoscopic procedures. Our brand new unit offers the best possible patient experience, employing state of the art equipment and highly qualified staff. Moreover we are offering a full weekend service as well as early and late appointments allowing patients a more flexible approach to their appointment times. Feedback from the first week of patients has been extremely positive.”

Deborah is confident that the new service will help to take the pressure off the waiting list to benefit patients:

“We have worked closely with the Remedy Healthcare team and we are confident that they will provide a high quality service to our patients. We are sorry that a lot of our patients have been waiting longer than we would like, we know it is frustrating so we are pleased that we now have additional capacity in place to help us see a lot more patients. We would ask that people please attend their appointment and if they cannot, please let us know as soon as possible so it can be offered to somebody else.”

The temporary unit will run as well as the current endoscopy services within both the Cumberland Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital. The temporary unit helps ensure that more urgent endoscopy requirements will not disrupt routine appointments. 

Deborah explained: “Of course our hospital teams will still be extremely busy seeing emergency patients, providing treatment and diagnostics; but we hope this will help to give us some space to look at improvements we can make as the demand for our service keeps increasing.”

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