Endoscopy is an increasing important diagnostic procedure, supporting speedy detection of a range of cancers, A recent review of endoscopy decontamination suites in England shows worryingly outdated facilities.
Of the hospitals responding to a Freedom of Information request, more than 41% are operating decontamination suites that are approaching or exceeding the manufacturer’s recommended ten-year lifespan.
This is a situation incompatible with the aims and standards rightly espoused by national leaders. The NHS Long Term Plan commits to increasing the proportion of cancers diagnosed early, from half currently to three quarters by 2028.
A recent report, “Looking Within: The State of Endoscopy in England”, by Public Policy Projects outlines 4 recommendations for NHS estates and facilities directors.
1. Ensure there is board-level understanding of the current age of endoscopy decontamination equipment and the risks of outdates equipment.
2. Where endoscopy decontamination equipment is being used, or will soon be used, beyond the manufacturer’s recommend lifespan, consider adding it to the organisation’s risk register.
3.Consider whether the use of mobile endoscopy suites and endoscopy decontamination suites could increase capacity and circumnavigate challenges to capital budget. This discussion could valuably be held at sustainability and transformation partnership/integrated care system level as well as at individual trust level.
4. Consider the use of mobile of endoscopy suites and endoscopy decontamination units in providing resilience and maintaining capacity during periods of refurbishment and equipment replacement programmes.
If you would like a copy of the report, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.