First Guidelines Published For Canadian Endoscopy Services

Canadian Association of Gastroenterology: Open Letter to Canadians

Ranging from ethics to facility standards and policies, to quality assurance, the new guidelines provide endoscopists and facilities across Canada with 23 solid recommendations toward ongoing improvements. “Our top priorities are patient safety and quality service wherever endoscopic service is delivered in Canada,” said Dr. David Armstrong, Lead CAG Endoscopy Committee. “Having national guidelines in place will be an invaluable tool for endoscopists and facilities across the country to achieve continuous improvements and best use of resources toward patient safety and care.” Led by the CAG, along with funding partners the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Consensus Guidelines were developed by a group of 35 Canadian, European and U.S.-based participants, including CAG members, with expertise in endoscopy, gastroenterology, surgery, nursing, legal and ethical issues, patient perspectives and quality improvement in healthcare. {vpipagebreak} Participants reviewed research published since 1990 to develop recommendations on best practices in the delivery of patient-centered endoscopy services in Canada. Following three rounds of revisions and voting, independent reviewers rated the quality of supporting evidence and strength of each recommendation. Recommendations were endorsed if more than 80 per cent of experts agreed with the statement (consensus). In recent years, the volume of endoscopic procedures in Canada, such as colonoscopies, has been increasing and demand is exceeding supply. In response, over the past decade the CAG has developed and implemented a number of programs to promote greater safety and quality in endoscopic services. For example, Canada has adopted the Global Rating Scale (GRS), a web-based endoscopy evaluation tool that evaluates multiple components of endoscopy service from a patient-focused perspective. The Consensus Guidelinesin the making for three yearsis a natural extension of the GRS and related programs that support the CAG’s commitment to safe, high-quality patient-centered care. “Now that the guidelines are in place, we will work with our members, our partners, provincial gastroenterology associations and other stakeholders to promote their broad implementation across Canada,” said Dr.

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Canadian gastroenterologists are already out of the starting block. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology has done its homework, talked to patients, and is now armed with information that will be crucial in improving the Canadian health care system. We have developed 24 recommended targets for medically-acceptable wait times for gastroenterology, based on a study conducted by nearly 200 Canadian GI specialists who captured data on 5,500 patient visits. We are ready to work with Canadians to make Paul Martin’s government pay attention. We are not looking for handouts. The simple infusion of federal dollars into the health care system is a band-aid solution. We must now go further, as a society. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology proposes to work hand-in-hand with Paul Martin’s government to develop the creative strategies that will finally allow us to bring wait times to acceptable levels. The federal government’s wait time initiative must be adapted in the face of current realities. We can no longer accept the unnecessary prolongation of suffering. The lives of Canadians are at risk. The time to reprioritize is now. Work with us to make reduced gastroenterology wait times a reality. Call the Prime Minister’s office or your M.P.

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