Local News7

Scanlon calls for the extension of rain harvesting grants to community centres


Community Centres should be granted aid to install water harvesting equipment, according to Sligo North Leitrim Fianna Fail TD Eamon Scanlon.

“From the 1st of March, local farmers will be able to access significant grants under the Rain Harvesting Scheme. This is an important strategy for the local community and will provide great support to our farmers,” said Deputy Scanlon.

“However, I believe we should go further with the Rain Harvesting initiative by extending it to the Community and Voluntary sector. Community centres are also struggling with the cost of providing water. Large amounts of treated water are used in these buildings for showers and toilets in particular.

“With the proper water harvesting equipment in place, rainwater could replace treated water for most purposes apart from human consumption. This is a win-win situation for both the community and the local authorities, with savings to be achieved all around.

“Buildings built by the community for the use of the community do not have any allowance for water charges and are obliged to pay for every litre that they use. These water bills would be dramatically reduced if centres used rain harvesting equipment to generate the bulk of their supply. In addition to this, Sligo County Council would save on the amount of water that it has to treat,” concluded Deputy Scanlon.


HSE's National Cancer Screening Service Announces Initial Selection of
Candidate Screening Colonoscopy Units and Outlines Accreditation
Programme for all Endoscopy Units

The National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS), part of the HSE's National
Cancer Control Programme, is responsible for the development and
implementation of Ireland's first national population-based colorectal
cancer screening programme. The programme is planned to be available to
men and women aged 60-69 in 2012. In Ireland, colorectal cancer is the
second most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common fatal
cancer among both men and women. One of the significant aspects of
colorectal cancer screening is that it can detect pre-cancerous adenomas
and is therefore a true cancer preventative health measure.

Men and women aged 60-69 will be offered a free home testing kit known
as a FIT test. Approximately 94 to 95 per cent of people who take part
in the programme will receive a normal FIT test result and will be
offered another home testing kit in a further two years. Approximately
five to six per cent of people screened will receive a result that will
require an additional test. They will be referred for a screening
programme colonoscopy (an investigation of the lining of the bowel).

The NCSS today announced details of the 15 candidate colonoscopy units
that have been initially selected to provide the colonoscopy
requirements to the programme. The remaining units will focus on
patients who are referred with symptoms.

The following 15 units have been selected as initial candidate screening
colonoscopy units: Cavan General Hospital; Connolly Hospital, Dublin;
Kerry General Hospital, Tralee; Letterkenny General Hospital; Louth
County Hospital, Dundalk; Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar; Mercy
University Hospital, Cork; Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore;
Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Ennis; Sligo General Hospital; South
Tipperary General Hospital, Clonmel; St James's Hospital, Dublin; St
Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin; The Adelaide and Meath Hospital
Dublin incorporating the National Children's Hospital, Tallaght and
Wexford General Hospital.

This selection provides a good geographic access and supports the aim of
having a network of accredited units in place by 2012. Any unit not
initially selected may in time be included as a screening colonoscopy
unit as part of the national colorectal cancer screening programme.

Achieving confirmed status as a screening colonoscopy unit will be
contingent upon these 15 sites demonstrating sufficient capacity,
reducing waiting times for all endoscopy procedures, adherence to
clinical performance targets, quality standards and meeting
accreditation requirements as determined by the NCSS Quality Assurance
Committee during the course of 2011 and 2012.

The NCSS sought expressions of interest in January 2010 from all
publicly funded hospitals that wished to be considered as a screening
colonoscopy unit as part of a national programme. Thirty one hospitals
in total expressed an interest. The HSE through the NCSS commissioned
baseline assessment visits in those units.

The visits were conducted by the NCSS in partnership with the
representative professional bodies, the Royal College of Physicians of
Ireland, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the Joint Advisory
Group on Gastroenterology (JAG) in the UK. All baseline visits were
completed by 30 September 2010 and all hospitals received a follow-up
review by 31 December 2010.

The purpose of the baseline assessment visits was to examine the
likelihood of each unit achieving independent accreditation within 12-18
months and readiness to incorporate screening colonoscopies into their
current service.

In response to the baseline assessment visits, each hospital has
developed and implemented an action plan designed to improve the quality
of service provided and is working towards achieving independent
accreditation. Actions taken by hospitals include changes to management
and leadership in endoscopy units, improved referral and pooling
practices, better waiting list management and improved decontamination

Since January 2010 the NCSS has focused on building sufficient capacity
in colonoscopy services nationwide to prepare for the introduction of
the screening programme, while maintaining and enhancing the capability
of the symptomatic service.

A major quality improvement initiative, the National Quality Assurance
Programme in GI Endoscopy, is being developed by the Royal College of
Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) and the Royal College of Surgeons in
Ireland (RCSI) in collaboration with the HSE and the NCSS.

Commenting on the initial selection, Tony O'Brien, Director of the
National Cancer Screening Service said: "It is our goal to ensure that
endoscopy units in Ireland, whether part of the national screening
programme or not, are fully quality assured, and that timely access is
provided for those men and women who require further investigation by
colonoscopy or any other endoscopic procedure. While there has been much
debate in recent years regarding access to colonoscopy to rule out
cancer, it is worth emphasising that endoscopy plays a major role in
diagnosing and monitoring benign conditions including peptic ulcers and
inflammatory bowel disease.

The focus is on improving quality and access at all publicly-funded
endoscopy units, not just for those referred for colonoscopy as part of
the screening programme, but for all men and women who require a
colonoscopy or any other diagnostic endoscopic procedure.

This will be achieved by building sufficient capacity in endoscopy
services nationwide to sustain the implementation of the programme,
while maintaining and enhancing the service. On the basis of achieving
the necessary quality standards and accreditation, additional units may
be included as part of the screening programme in time" he concluded.

Commenting on the quality improvement programme underway in hospitals,
Dr Philip Crowley, HSE National Director of Risk, Quality and Clinical
Care, said; "By introducing this major quality improvement initiative we
have asked independent experts to systematically and objectively review
endoscopy services nationwide to identify areas of under-performance,
instigate change and lay the foundations for a system of continuous
quality improvement.

"Significant progress has been made by hospitals over the last 12 months
and they have clear plans in place for further improvements to be made
in the year ahead. This will not only pave the way for the roll-out of
the colorectal cancer screening programme but will ensure that all of
our endoscopy units are providing a high quality and standardised
service to the public."

The NCSS will have a service agreement with each of the selected
screening colonoscopy units. The NCSS will be responsible for ensuring
adherence to strict quality assurance standards at each of the units.

Vote No.1 Eamon Scanlon