Hiqa to assess surgery benefits
The State’s health watchdog is to assess the benefit of common surgical procedures to ensure that patients most in need receive treatment as quickly as possible.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) plans to carry out a series of rapid health technology assessment which will focus on identifying the effectiveness of high-volume scheduled surgical procedures.
The assessments are being carried out at the request of the Health Service Executive, which last year reported a 22 per cent increase in demand for procedures compared to 2010.
Hiqa’s director of health technology assessment Dr Máirin Ryan said the demand for healthcare services continued to increase and given Ireland’s changing demographics, it was likely to grow in the future.
“Demand for scheduled surgery in particular continues to exceed available capacity. As a result, pressure on national waiting lists continues to grow despite increases in activity levels.”
“Clinical referral or treatment thresholds will be developed for certain surgical procedures where the benefits for some patients may be limited unless undertaken within strict clinical criteria. Streamlining referrals from family doctors to surgeons should help ensure that the right patients have the right surgery at the right time.”
“By limiting such procedures in patients who may derive limited clinical benefit, there is a potential to free up capacity for treatments of higher clinical value thus maximising population health gain for the limited resources available,” Dr Ryan concluded.
Hiqa has convened an expert advisory group to oversee the assessments. The completed evaluation will be submitted to the HSE and the Minister for Health