The introduction of community-based endoscopy service in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) will improve access to endoscopy procedures and reduce the length of time people wait for these procedures.
The first step in the process occurred today, with RQHR issuing a request for proposal (RFP) to explore using a third-party provider for endoscopy services in a publicly-funded private facility in spring 2015. An agreement with a third-party service provider would require that privately delivered endoscopy services cost the same as, or less than, community services delivered by the public system.
“This innovative step will ensure endoscopy patients continue to receive quality care, but in a more timely way in the most appropriate care setting,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said. “Community-based day surgery and specialized medical imaging services have already successfully increased capacity and reduced wait times in the province, and we expect a similar result for endoscopy procedures in southern Saskatchewan.”
Endoscopy covers a range of procedures that examine the digestive tract. There is a growing wait list as a result of the colorectal cancer screening program and the growth in Saskatchewan’s population, especially over the age of 60. Wait times for endoscopy procedures can exceed one year.
“Offering some endoscopy procedures in a community-based setting is one way RQHR can further its goal of providing the right care in the right place at the right time,” RQHR Vice President of Human Resources and Communications Mike Higgins said, who is co-ordinating the RFP process for community-based services. “Patients accessing endoscopy procedures in the community experience a number of benefits, including easier access to facilities. Reducing pressure on hospital-based endoscopy services also enables us to better serve those patients who need to receive these procedures within an acute care setting.”
The Ministry of Health will provide additional annual funding to RQHR to move approximately 5,000 endoscopy procedures per year to a community setting, with the opportunity to increase the volume following a needs assessment. This will free up capacity for more complex procedures to take place in hospital.
The RFP will close on September 15. Proposals will then be reviewed and a decision will be made to determine whether these services will be provided by a third-party or by RQHR.