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Accelerated endoscopy training for NHS nurses to be rolled out


An accelerated training programme for nurses and other non-medical registered professionals to learn how to carry out endoscopy procedures is to be expanded this year, following a successful pilot.

The programme, launched by workforce planning body Health Education England last year, saw 40 registered health professionals complete their training during the pilot in 2016.

“Our new non-medical endoscopy training programme will help to deliver a workforce with the capacity to meet increasing demand”

Wendy Reid

Participants have been taught now to deliver either upper gastrointestinal endoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy procedures.

The training will now be rolled out more widely across the NHS from this month, following results from an interim evaluation of the scheme.

HEE said demand for gastrointestinal endoscopy in the UK was expected to increase over the next decade due to increased patient expectations, emphasis on early diagnosis and better uptake of screening.

To meet this demand, the health secretary announced in 2015 that HEE would oversee the training of 200 additional staff in endoscopy by 2018.

Gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures that have traditionally been carried out by doctors are increasingly being performed by nurses and other non-medical registered practitioners, highlighted HEE.

wendy reid

wendy reid

Wendy Reid

It is estimated that up to 20% of activity in endoscopy units is already carried out by nurse endoscopists, but NHS figures predict that in the future around 40% of low risk, high volume endoscopic procedures could potentially be carried out by non-medical practitioners.

Professor Wendy Reid, national director of education and quality at HEE, said: “We know that early diagnosis is vital to improve patient outcomes, and a workforce with the right skills and in the right numbers is essential to ensure this.”

“Our new non-medical endoscopy training programme will help to deliver a workforce with the capacity needed to meet increasing demand, reducing the amount of time patients need to wait for a diagnosis and enabling earlier treatment,” she added.


Readers' comments (4)

  • I would never allow this, we are already told doctors (properly trained) may rupture internal organs during this procedure so no way would i allow anyone to perform this procedure, even the qualified doctors need training.

    We appear to allow anyone who fancies a prod and poke to invade our bodies. It it time patients should be told who is performing this procedure and be allowed to sue them as an individual if things go wrong.

    All too often doctors buy their mistakes, and it is time they were held accountable as any injury has long term affects fro the patient.

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  • I have no problems with nurses carrying out endoscopies. I've seen many well trained nurse endoscopists and never come across an unhappy patient. What I do disagree with is nurses carrying out advanced roles and not being remunerated for it. At least GI doctors progress in their careers, there isn't much scope for advancement beyond the ANP role. Sometimes there is the option of nurse consultancy, but that just cuts your clinical time and forces you into research/leadership/management.

    I'm unsure if the comment above is a nurse or a patient, but nurse endoscopists have years of training to do endoscopies, far more than doctors do, so you don't have anything to worry about.

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  • I think that this is a really positive step. I work in an Endoscopy unit myself alongside very skilled and well trained nurse endoscopists. Waiting lists and demands are high so this initiative may be the ideal solution.

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  • These practitioners are trained to a high standard, but it is understandable that patients have concerns which is possibly inflammed when clear information is not provided to patients prior to the procedure. Many patients are nervous about such invasive procedures, therefore preparing an informative leaflet prior to admission with a clear explanation on the day would i feel improve this and prevent complaints.
    Patients can then decide if they want this procedure performed by a non-medical practitioner/nurse. Similar to GP surgeries.

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