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N Z Med J. 2007 Jul 20;120(1258):U2632.

A survey of colonoscopy capacity in New Zealand's public hospitals.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Morriston Hospital, Morriston, Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom.



Population screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) in New Zealand is under review and would increase demand for colonoscopy. This National Screening Unit commissioned survey aimed to determine the current level of colonoscopy provision in New Zealand's public hospitals, the gap in demand and provision for diagnostic and surveillance procedures, and factors limiting colonoscopy capacity.


A survey, based on the United States SECAP study, was posted to all public endoscopy units within New Zealand in April 2005.


The overall survey response rate was 86% (24/28). Only 3 of 7 large centres, and 11 of 17 small centres, are able to offer a diagnostic colonoscopy to patients with symptoms suggestive of CRC within 3 months of referral--and at the time of the survey, 828 patients had been waiting greater than 6 months. The majority (85%) of public hospitals offer surveillance colonoscopy for most indications, and at the time of the survey, 2550 patients had been waiting greater than 6 months. Availability of endoscopy nurses and endoscopists are the main factors limiting colonoscopy provision.


In New Zealand's public hospitals a significant gap exists between colonoscopy demand and provision. Population screening for CRC would require a significant increase in colonoscopy capacity to ensure waiting times for symptomatic patients do not increase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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