Surgery backlog

Surgery backlog

Doc wants to eliminate competition for breast cancer patients

Thursday, October 15, 2020

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THOUGH breast cancer surgeries are prioritised amid the general backlog in the public health system, patients are also competing with people with other forms of cancer for medical procedure slots.

This reality has therefore strengthened Kingston Public Hospital's push for a breast oncology clinic, to remedy how quickly patients access procedures.

The disclosure of a surgery pile-up was made by consultant general surgeon at the hospital, Dr Hugh Roberts, during this week's virtual Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange — which coincides with the country's observance of breast cancer awareness month.

“We do have a backlog to some degree; forget COVID,” Dr Roberts told editors and reporters, “But what happens with cancer patients is that they are usually prioritised. They are of utmost priority, but breast cancer patients aren't just competing with other procedures, they are competing with other cancer patients.”

He said while a breast cancer patient is put on an elective surgery list within two to three weeks, versus two to three months, a patient battling another disease or dealing with an issue which requires surgery is consequently bumped off the list.

The solution, he said, is the establishment of the clinic to eliminate competition for breast cancer patients.

The clinic is one where breast cancer treatments and services are done within one facility, as opposed to in fragments, thereby creating hardship for patients.

“So if you can take [breast cancer] patients and put them in their separate clinic, and then have dedicated lists for those patients, it helps not only those patients [but] it also helps the rest of Jamaica that has other pathologies.

“Right now, if you have a hernia and you come to my clinic, I can tell you straight up, you're not getting surgery for another two or three years. If you come to me in my private practice and you want [surgery], the onus is on you when you're going to get the surgery done. You'll probably get the surgery done next week. The reason why you get surgery in two or three years is because of other patients that are going to bypass you, a hernia patient,” Dr Roberts stated.

— Kimone Francis

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