Nurse led flexible sigmoidoscopy in primary care--the first thousand patients.

Research paper by K K Maruthachalam, E E Stoker, G G Nicholson, A F AF Horgan

Indexed on: 22 Aug '06Published on: 22 Aug '06Published in: Colorectal Disease


Secondary care Trusts have traditionally been providers of flexible sigmoidoscopy services in the United Kingdom. The aim of this study was to establish a Nurse-led flexible sigmoidoscopy clinic that would provide a patient orientated service in a primary care setting.A protocol driven flexible sigmoidoscopy clinic was established in a primary care setting. The first thousand patients who underwent flexible sigmoidoscopy at the community clinic were prospectively studied.A nurse endoscopist performed 1002 procedures on 1000 patients. Median time from referral to flexible sigmoidoscopy was 35 days (Range 1-180 days). Two hundred and twenty-two (22%) patients were diagnosed with significant colonic pathology including 25 (2.5%) patients with colorectal cancer. Median time from referral to histological diagnosis of colorectal cancer was 26 days (range 7-87 days). No complications were encountered. Patients who required further follow-up were referred to a Consultant led (29%) or Nurse led clinic (5%) in secondary care. Patient satisfaction as assessed by postal questionnaire indicated that 447 (99%) patients were satisfied with the service.A community endoscopy clinic can provide a safe and effective flexible sigmoidoscopy service with high levels of patient satisfaction. Nurse Endoscopists can extend their role in primary care with adequate training and support from secondary care hospitals.