Donegal to be included in pilot scheme to speed up abdominal scans


Some Donegal people with suspected cancer symptoms are to be sent to private clinics for ultrasound scans, with urgent cases waiting no more than five days.

A pilot scheme to reduce waiting times for scans is being rolled out in rural areas between now and the end of the year.

Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim will be included by November.

The Irish Independent reports that the pilot scheme will allow GPs organise pelvic and abdominal ultrasound scans in clinics run by the private diagnostics operator, Euromedic.

The paper revealed this week that because of a lack of direct access to ultrasound in some areas of the country, GPs can wait up to seven weeks for urgent appointments for patients who could have ovarian cancer.

The Irish College of General Practitioners said routine cases can take months, because the patient has to be seen in an outpatient clinic first.

The scheme will roll out to eight primary care sites which have the poorest access to ultrasounds, and is aimed at reducing the risks of delayed diagnosis.

Urgent cases will be seen within five days, and non-urgent cases within 10 days, with a report being issued within 24 hours.

The scheme will benefit patients who are covered by medical or GP visit cards - but not all patients needing scans will be included in the scheme.