2nd March 2012
Good news for breast care – Island’s waiting list down and new enhanced services commence
The three phases, which were designed to significantly enhance the scope of breast care available on-Island, were as follows:
Ms Millie Bello, Consultant General Surgeon with a special interest in Oncoplastic Breast Surgery and Breast Care took up post at Noble’s Hospital on 1st February 2012. Ms Bello is highly qualified and experienced in oncoplastic and reconstructive breast surgery and breast care. In line with the Department’s plans, Ms Bello has already been able to perform sentinel node biopsies (using the blue dye method – the radioisotope method will be introduced in the coming months), with breast reconstruction patients already booked-in over the coming weeks - all provided on-Island at Noble’s Hospital.
Sentinel node biopsies have the benefit of requiring the removal of far less tissue to diagnose the extent and stage of cancer. The provision of on-Island breast reconstruction not only reduces the costs of referring patients to hospitals in the UK, but also ensures that patients don’t have to undergo the inconvenience and disruption of travel, instead being treated closer to home, with family and friends available for support.
As well as meeting its commitment to implement these three key developments, the Department has also been able to make additional advancements and improvements:
Since July 2011 both the overall inpatient and outpatient waiting lists have gone down. These figures include non-urgent and routine referrals that aren’t cancer related; suspected and confirmed cancer cases are classed as urgent and seen much faster than this average time. Where breast cancer is suspected, patients are given an appointment in the next available clinic and are seen within days. If cancer is confirmed, patients are admitted for treatment within 30 days, this is in line with national standards. On the 14th July 2011 there were 88 patients on the outpatient waiting list who had been waiting an average of 21 days for their appointment. On 14th February 2012 there were 69 patients on the outpatient waiting list who had been waiting an average of 17 days for their appointment. The number of patients waiting on the inpatient lists and the length of time they were waiting for admission were 26 patients waiting on average 226 days on 14th July 2011 and 27 patients waiting on average 158 days on 14th February 2012.
Minister for Health, David Anderson MHK said: “The Island has a truly exceptional breast service of which we can be very proud. The appointment of our new Consultant Surgeon, Consultant Radiologist and Consultant Histopathologist; not to mention the provision of additional clinic and theatre time and the introduction of on-Island breast reconstruction and sentinel node biopsy all provide a huge leap forward for what was already an excellent breast care service. For the size of our population our breast care service really punches above its weight. I’m delighted that the Department has not only been able to go far beyond maintaining the services provided under the previous locum surgeon, but also significantly enhance them for women who suffer from this disease.
“The team at Noble’s Hospital is to be commended for their tireless efforts to develop and enhance our breast service and provide the very highest standards of care for the people of the Isle of Man. We also need to remember of course that in addition to this Ms Bello also provides out of hours general surgical cover on a one in four basis, meaning that the Department now meets the requirements in this regard as laid out by the Royal College of Surgeons – so excellent news all-round.
“We also mustn’t forget the important role of prevention, by ensuring we all lead healthy lifestyles, whilst continuing to offer screening where we can to catch any signs of cancer at the earliest opportunity. This theme of prevention and screening lies at the heart of our Health Strategy. Although a review into breast screening is currently underway in the UK by Sir Mike Richards, the Department’s advice in this regard currently remains unchanged. Women between the age of 50 and 70 are routinely called for breast screening, every two years. This short diagnostic procedure can save lives, so it’s important that women attend when called.”
Anyone outside the age bracket of 50 – 70 who has concerns can contact their GP or the Breast Screening Service on 685339.