Researchers conducted an investigation into endoscopy services in primary care units, and reported their findings to the British Society of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.
A postal questionnaire was sent to primary care endoscopy units, seeking details of their structures, services, and standards.
96% of the 28 units identified replied to the questionnaire.
13 of these provided gastroscopy and lower GI examinations, 6 gastroscopy only, and 8 lower GI only.
The researchers found the primary care endoscopy units had been in existence on average for 5 years. Services were provided by a total of 41 GPs and 68 nurse assistants. The average experience of endoscopists was 11 years.
|Out of 24,195 gastroscopies in General Practice, only 3 complications were reported.|
|British Society of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting |
96% of units undertook audit. Average 'urgent' and 'routine' waiting times were found to be 1-2 weeks and 3-4 weeks, respectively.
The total number of procedures, performed by all units to date, was 34,959. Of these 24,195 were
gastroscopies and 10,764 were lower GI examinations. Total annual throughput was 4,506 for gastroscopy and 1,305 for lower examinations.
Out of all the gastroscopy procedures, only 3 complications were reported. These were identified as one perforation of crico-pharyngeal pouch; one admission to A&E with chest pain; and one delayed discharge due to slow recovery after IV sedation. No mortality was recorded.
For lower GI examinations, complications reported were one death (caecal blow-out, carcinoma) after flexible sigmoidoscopy; 6 hospital admissions (3 perforations after colonoscopy); and 4 delayed discharge.
Researchers, J. Gibson and colleagues, commented that community endoscopy in the United Kingdom is well established, having developed over 18 years with experienced endoscopists.
Gibson concluded, "The survey also indicated that gastroscopy in the community is safe, and compares well with hospital practice. The good safety record may be related to careful case selection and the low use of intravenous sedation."