Interventional gastroenterology

Call to register for colonoscopy recertification


Colonoscopists are being encouraged to sign up for recertification to demonstrate that they are maintaining their skillset.

Outgoing GESA president Professor Ian Norton told the limbic while the program was currently voluntary, it would in future become ‘de facto compulsory’.

“The carrot is that referring doctors and patients will be able to look up the register and see who is participating in the scheme. “

“And we also hope that hospitals, both public and private, will look at this and say to their credentialed practitioners, ‘if you’re not part of it, why aren’t you part of it?’”

GESA is also in discussions with private health funds so they know the register is available.

About 300 gastroenterologists are already registered, but GESA is keen to bring a similar number into the program while it is still free.

Federal government funding which supports the program, via the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), ends in 2018.

Speaking at Australian Gastroenterology Week, Professor Norton said the recertification process was essential as the NBCSP builds to full rollout.

“From about two years onwards, everyone will get a kit in the mail every two years. About 7% will have a positive test and be referred for colonoscopy.”

“A huge number of people who are completely well are going down a path which leads to a procedure with potential risks, and many are going to be normal.”

“The government recognised that we need to have as much quality around the colonoscopy part of the program as possible.”

“We already have very good criteria in place for training in colonoscopy, with some of the highest standards in the world. But once you get out at age 28 or 29 there has been nothing to make sure you maintain that skillset.”

“The idea is not to stop people doing colonoscopy but to bring them up to speed with everybody else.”

Professor Norton said GESA was also in discussions with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) about expanding the re-certification program to cover both surgeons and physicians.

The workload was not onerous logging about 150 procedures in a three-year cycle – an average of one per week.

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