Canadian Association Of Gastroenterology: Open Letter To Canadians

That’s far longer than the 3 weeks Canadians have told us that they’re willing to wait. Frankly, four months is unacceptable. It is time we got our priorities straight. Surprisingly, in developing its wait list reform of the Canadian health care system, Paul Martin’s government overlooked digestive disease. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology has sent a call to action to Prime Minister Paul Martin, urging him to include digestive disease as a health-care priority and ensure Canadian patients obtain necessary and timely access to our specialists. 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.

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First National Guidelines Published for Endoscopy Services in Canada

Finance Sun, Sep 8, 2013, 2:03 AM EDT – U.S. Ranging from ethics to facility standards and policies, to quality assurance, the new Consensus 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 our 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 health care. 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 Guidelines – in the making for three years – is 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.


Wait Times for Patients Who Need Gastroenterology Care Are Getting Longer

Dan Sadowski, President of the CAG. “In human terms, what this means is that many patients live with pain and some are unable to work or attend school and can only do so with difficulty while waiting for consultation and treatment.” This year, the WTA report is shedding more light on the total wait time(i) Canadians can experience in receiving necessary medical care. Thanks to the total wait times data collected and provided by CAG, the WTA report is now more comprehensive than ever. “The CAG has been a source of robust information for our expanded focus on wait times”, says Dr. Chris Simpson, Chair, Wait Time Alliance. “Their data on total wait times for access to care, not just a portion of it, is extremely valuable to the WTA. It not only validates that total wait times are increasing, it contributes significant insight into the patient perspective on health care in Canada and reinforces the need for greater investments in timely access to care.” “With results over the last three surveys, we can plot trends in access to digestive care over a seven-year period,” says Dr. Sadowski. “Together with the broader WTA report results, we are better armed in future to work with our members to improve service and maximize available resources through programs like our Quality Program – Endoscopy (QP-E) and in our partnership with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC).” Every year, approximately 1.6 million endoscopic procedures are performed in Canada, and about 20,000 Canadians are diagnosed with colon cancer. In a report released by the Canadian Cancer Society on May 9, statistics show there is a decline in deaths from colorectal cancer due to increased screening efforts. “We are pleased that national rates in colorectal cancer are decreasing – perhaps a result of colon cancer screening programs and access to colonoscopy,” says Dr. Leddin. “This demonstrates that we can indeed make a difference. We need to continue to strive for appropriate access and quality care.” Additional information: Fact sheet on SAGE data About the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG) was founded in 1962. Its mandate is to support and engage in the study of the organs of the digestive tract in health and disease; promote the advancement of the science and art of gastroenterology by providing leadership in patient care, research, teaching and continuing professional development; and promote and maintain the highest ethical standards. The CAG has more than 1,100 members including gastroenterologists, surgeons, pediatricians, basic scientists and nurses.

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