Putting Patients First: Transnasal Endoscopy
Diagnostics play a hugely important role in the modern day delivery of care in the NHS. Cancer is a clinical area in which diagnostics are especially important, where earlier diagnosis and treatment can save lives.
Gastroscopy is a procedure for the diagnosis of cancer which is available in the NHS. Despite the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to improve cancer services, demand for endoscopy services continues to outstrip capacity and patients are waiting too long for their diagnosis and treatment. Increasing the provision of gastrointestinal endoscopy via the ‘transnasal’ method will provide faster access for patients, improve the experience patients receive and help the NHS to address the shortfall in endoscopy services via this innovative technique.
About Transnasal Endoscopy
Transnasal Endoscopy is a procedure in which a slimmer than traditional gastroscope, typically less than 6 mm in diameter, is inserted via the patient’s nose to enable the clinician to visualise the patient’s upper gastrointestinal tract, including the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.
This procedure requires less physical space than the conventional transoral method, which means that hospitals can free up clinical space within the endoscopy unit and can, as a result of implementation, prioritise the most urgent cases. What is more, the transnasal method removes the need to sedate patients in the majority of cases, meaning Clinicians can perform more procedures in a given period of time, which in turn will help to reduce the waiting list backlog. Setting up a Transnasal service is quick and involves no significant infrastructural changes, unlike the creation of an endoscopy suite (currently the only other alternative).
Putting Patient First
First and foremost, increasing the capacity of transnasal endoscopy services will enable more patients to access the procedure. This will enable shorter waiting times and diagnostic delay, providing patients with accurate diagnoses quickly.
What is more, transnasal endoscopy is a more tolerable procedure than the conventional transoral method, with increased patient comfort as it avoids the gag reflex. Improved comfort allows clinicians to examine the gastrointestinal tract for longer, which also improves the quality of the procedure and reduces the risk of failure or an inaccurate diagnosis.
Finally, as transnasal endoscopy does not require sedation, patient risk (related to sedation) and recovery times are reduced. Patients can return to normal activity far more quickly. Furthermore, patients can attend appointments alone and even drive home themselves.