Royal Victoria Hospital takes heat for colonoscopy delays
Published Friday, March 2, 2012 7:03PM EST
MONTREAL - The Royal Victoria Hospital says it's trying to fix the long delays for colonoscopies.
The hospital admits patients do have to wait a long time for the procedure, but says that's a temporary problem.
Health Minister Yves Bolduc says the problems at the Royal Victoria aren't unique and that nearly every other hospital also has to deal with long wait times.
The Royal Victoria says the recent death of a doctor has made things more difficult.
"We've had one physician who's died and another one who is finishing training and is not back yet, so the group has had to take measure to face the current situation," Dr. Alan Barkun, a gastroenterologist at the MUHC, told CTV Montreal on Friday.
The Royal Victoria came under scrutiny after a Montreal Gazette report suggested it could take up to three years for a colonoscopy.
But the Royal Victoria says that's not so. They say the wait-time for urgent cases is about two weeks, though patients requesting a non-urgent colonoscopy can wait almost a year.
Bolduc, meanwhile, has high hopes for a new colorectal cancer screening program soon to be implemented by the province.
"With the program that we're going to put in place they are going to be able to have the colonoscopy inside the delay that we have as a recommendation," Bolduc said.
Shirley Smart knows what it's like to face a delay. She's been on a waiting list for a colonoscopy at St. Eustache Hospital for six years.
Her father died of colorectal cancer at 59 and she is turning 55 soon. Smart says she and many others are fed up.
"I don't blame the doctors, i don't blame the hospitals they just don't have the resources," Smart said.
Over 2,500 Quebecers die each year from colorectal cancer. Doctors say the key to lowering those numbers is early detection. If found early enough, the cure rate is 90 per cent.
Dr. Alan Barkun, a gastroenterologist at the MUHC, says the delays are temporary.