A new model of care for the treatment of urological conditions in Ireland has been launched.
It proposes that the majority of urology patients should be cared for in the community.
Urology services cover a wide range of conditions, including urinary tract infections, kidney stones, incontinence, bladder prolapse, interstitial cystitis and prostate cancer.
Urology: A model of care for Ireland has been developed by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) in partnership with Acute Operations HSE and the National Clinical Programme in Surgery (NCPS).
According to the NCPS clinical advisor in urology, Mr Eamonn Rogers, the frequency of urinary symptoms and conditions increases with age and as a result of Ireland's changing demographics, "a radical reconsideration of how best to deliver urology services is necessary".
"This model of care must be implemented in full so that we can deliver an efficient and economically viable service, which improves the access of patients across Ireland to the services they require as they get older, delivered by a range of healthcare providers including GPs, physiotherapists, clinical nurse specialists and urologists," he commented.
The publication of the new model of care was welcomed by Dr Vida Hamilton, who is the national clinical advisor and group lead of Acute Operations of the HSE.
"This model of care was developed in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders and outlines an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to urology services. Its publication is welcomed and its implementation will improve services and patient outcomes," she said.
The model makes 19 recommendations and according to Prof John Hyland, co-lead of the NCPS, their implementation "will be critical to enable every urology patient to benefit from quality improvements in all aspects of their healthcare journey".
The model concludes that if it is properly implemented and resourced, it will lead to "obvious improvements in patient care and access to care, but also reduced working hours for urologists, with less stress, better work-life balance and reduced medical error".
The new model of care can be viewed here.