Further delays in urgent tests for bowel cancer
The number of patients in urgent need of a bowel cancer test who are not being seen on time is on the increase again, new figures have revealed.
By the middle of last month, 10.4pc (59) of these urgent patients referred for a colonoscopy were waiting more than the recommended 28 days.
This compared to 8.3pc (48) who were facing the same delays in December, the HSE figures showed.
The HSE said that of the 30 hospitals which reported on their colonoscopy service, 10 had people waiting longer than 28 days.
Three years ago Kilkenny mother Susie Long died after she revealed she had to wait seven months for the procedure.
New guidelines on the management of urgent colonoscopy referrals have been issued to all hospitals.
Health Minister Mary Harney recently announced that a national bowel screening programme will begin in January 2012.
It will take two years to put the necessary elements in place, including the expansion of colonoscopy services in hospitals, in order to cope with the additional numbers of patients.