Urology services in the Welsh NHS will be transformed to ensure people are seen by the right clinician, in the right place and at the right time as part of a new plan unveiled by Welsh Labour’s Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething.
The new National Urology Implementation Plan, produced by the Planned Care Programme, aims to improve patient experience and deliver sustainable services by ensuring the Welsh NHS cares for those with the greatest needs first; carries out the minimum appropriate interventions while focusing on a smaller number of areas with greater impact and outcomes.
The plan requires health boards to understand and measure demand, capacity and activity in urology and establish a patient experience measure for urology services in Wales.
The main changes are:
- Health boards should establish processes to prevent referral into secondary care for those people who will gain little benefit from the referral. They will receive appropriate care and treatment from community-based services
- Review and where necessary amend the list of “do not dos”, which will include circumcision, unless there is clear evidence of balanitis, phimosis/paraphimosis or suspected cancer of the prepuce and investigation of asymptomatic non visible haematuria based on recent National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance
- In order to make most appropriate use of secondary care capacity and to optimise patient experience, health boards should maximise the use of community continence services
- Health boards should routinely adopt one-stop pathways for patients with haematuria and provide virtual follow-up services for a defined group of patients with prostate cancer
- Smokers and people with a body mass index of 35 and above will be referred to a local stop-smoking or weight management service as part of their active treatment
- Ensuring hospital, community and primary care work together and empowering people to manage their own health and wellbeing.
Urology covers care for diseases of kidneys, bladder and prostate and includes conditions such as incontinence, impotence, infertility, cancer and reconstruction of the genito-urinary tract. There are approximately 53,000 new urology outpatient referrals every year in Wales, with 74% of people receiving some kind of treatment. More than 4,000 people every year are diagnosed with a urological cancer in Wales.