The fact that a successful Haematuria Pilot, which took place in Roscommon University Hospital, has been denied further funding to roll it out on a larger scale has been branded a disgrace by independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.
Beginning in December 2018, the service has been led by Eamonn Rogers – a Consultant Urologist at Galway and Roscommon University Hospitals, as well the national clinical lead for Urology.
This service was developed as part of a model of care to maximise the surgical workforce to deliver urology care not just in hospitals but in primary care centres along with access to radiology tests, while ensuring appropriate clinical governance to support a safe and high quality service, according to Saolta – a key supporter of the pilot.
Commenting on the development, Fitzmaurice said: “As part of this pilot, Roscommon University Hospital (RUH) was the site for the Rapid Access Haematuria Service.
“It acts as a ‘One Stop Clinic’ for patients who have symptoms of blood in their urine. A commitment is then given for investigations and procedures to be carried out within a target of 28 days – a target which was met throughout the course of the pilot.
“This pilot is evidence that the Health Service can be streamlined if it is managed properly and the right structures are put in place. As part of the pilot, GPs who had a concern about a patient referred them to a Consultant Urologist.
“These consultants could then send their patients to RUH for rapid assessment. Since its launch in December 2018, a total of 540 patients have been seen – with approximately 130 set to be seen in the next 28 days.
“To put the success of this pilot into perspective, 75% of the people who presented to the service have been diagnosed, treated and discharged back to the care of their GP in one single visit. While 9% of the 540 patients were diagnosed with cancer by a consultant inside 28 days.
“This is a streamlined service which has been developed, put in place and delivered excellent results by a dedicated team of people and supporters – including Saolta and the Royal College of Surgeons.
“Consultants from right across the country have referred patients to the Rapid Access Haematuria Service as a result of its success.
“As part of the traditional model, patients may have had to attend four different appointments to receive the care they received in one day as part of this pilot.
“On the number of patients served to date, that is in the region of 1,600 appointments which have been avoided. The patients which have been seen as part of this pilot have never had to be placed on a waiting list.
“However, in recent weeks it has transpired that an application for national funding to the HSE to roll out the service on a broader scale has been rejected.
“The alternative for people who have enjoyed access to the rapid service in RUH would have been to be placed on a waiting list for Galway for in excess of 12 months.
“It is incredible to believe that a project which has been proven to work and deliver results will not be funded further and rolled out on a national level.
“We hear the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, talking about reducing waiting lists, well this is a fail-safe method of achieving this goal – but the funding must be granted. We need to examine how the HSE is run and cut out the waste.
“I have contacted the minister and the hierarchy within the HSE to clarify why the decision has been made not to grant funding to expand this successful pilot. It is beggars’ belief,” Fitzmaurice concluded.
Michael Fitzmaurice – 0861914565