Health Information and Quality Authority publish Evaluation Report
The Health Information and Quality Authority has today published the Report of the Evaluation of the use of resources in the national population-based cancer screening programme and associated services, which informed the Government decision to fund the introduction of a colorectal cancer screening programme.
Following the publication of the Authority’s report on 17 June 2009, Health Technology Assessment (HTA) of a population-based colorectal cancer screening programme in Ireland, the Minister for Health and Children requested the Authority to undertake an Evaluation examining the feasibility of introducing a colorectal cancer screening programme in Ireland within existing resources.
Dr Máirín Ryan, Director of Health Technology Assessment at the Health Information and Quality Authority, said: “The report concludes that the introduction of a colorectal cancer screening programme in Ireland which, when fully implemented, is anticipated to save approximately 300 lives per year in Ireland, is possible through a number of initiatives.”
The Evaluation report identified a number of initiatives which would substantially contribute to the resources required to enable such a screening programme to be introduced. These included:
- a change in the costs associated with professional services within the existing national population-based cancer screening programmes
- using the existing administrative resources within the National Cancer Screening Service
- the training of additional clinical staff
- optimising the use of existing resources and hospital infrastructure extending working days for services, and
- consideration of mechanisms to include private health insurance funding.
The Evaluation report found that existing administrative resources within the National Cancer Screening Services should be utilised in the roll out of a colorectal cancer screening programme. For example, the Authority recommended that the unit costs of CervicalCheck should be reviewed to identify potential savings.
Dr Ryan stated: “The Authority fully supports the decision by the Government to allocate resources to the introduction of a colorectal cancer screening programme and we look forward to seeing its successful implementation. The decision to proceed with the screening programme illustrates the importance of HTA in informing decision making that ultimately saves lives and outlines efficient and cost effective approaches that improve our health service.”
“In the challenges of our current economic environment it is important that we focus on the ‘can do’ to make this happen and, when successfully implemented, a national colorectal cancer screening programme will help drive improvements in Ireland’s cancer services.”
Notes to the Editor
On 17 June 2009, the Authority published a report recommending the introduction of a population-based screening programme for colorectal cancer, Health Technology Assessment (HTA) of a population-based colorectal cancer screening programme in Ireland.
On the same day the Minister for Health and Children requested the Authority to undertake an evaluation of the resources assigned to the current national population-based cancer screening programmes by the National Cancer Screening Service in order to identify efficiencies that may be achieved within the present models and to evaluate colonoscopy services and resources within the Health Service Executive (HSE) to examine how they could be used, or built upon.
The aim of this Evaluation report was to maximise the overall population health gain and efficiencies across the selected range of available cancer screening technologies, while maintaining the quality and safety of those services.
In Ireland, there are established national population-based screening programmes for the detection of breast and cervical cancer. Currently, no such national programme exists for colorectal cancer screening.
Colorectal cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer in both men and women. Between 2002 and 2005, an average of 2,040 new cases of colorectal cancer was diagnosed each year. During the same time period, an average of 925 people died from the disease each year in Ireland.
The incidence rates of colorectal cancer for men and women are among the highest in Europe, and, in Ireland, we have the highest mortality rate for colorectal cancer for men in Western Europe.
This Evaluation report was conducted by the Authority using the principles of health technology assessment (HTA) combined with a value for money review of existing resources, in order to assess the best use of resources for the maximum patient outcomes.
The timeframe for conducting the project was four months. In this timeframe, therefore, the findings and recommendations were at a relatively high level and indicated the potential possibilities for enabling the implementation of a national colorectal cancer screening programme, within a challenging fiscal climate, and how existing resources could contribute to that end.
Terms of Reference:
Examine the BreastCheck screening programme of the National Cancer Screening Service and assess whether efficiencies can be achieved without compromising the quality and safety of the service provided.
Examine the CervicalCheck screening programme of the National Cancer Screening Service and assess whether efficiencies can be achieved without compromising the quality and safety of the service provided.
Identify the resources assigned to colonoscopy services within the hospital system and assess the potential to apply, or build upon these resources effectively within a national colorectal cancer screening programme.
Advise on a model for a national colorectal cancer screening programme, including options for phased implementation as set out in the HTA of a population-based Colorectal Cancer Screening Programme in Ireland.
Advise how the national colorectal cancer screening programme can be run effectively in a quality assured manner within the existing resources available to the National Cancer Screening Service and the HSE.
Examine potential synergies between the current and proposed population-based cancer screening programmes with a view to maximising and optimising efficiencies.
For further information please contact:
Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
01 814 7481 / 086 2447 623