UK endoscopy census 2021


What are the benefits of the census?

• The 2021 biennial census provides a unique view of how endoscopy services are adapting to continued demand, exacerbated by repeated waves of COVID-19
• Levels of activity are not yet back to pre-pandemic levels and waiting time targets are not being met by most services, however urgent cancer waits are comparable to previous years indicating a focussed response and emerging signs of recovery
• There are novel insights into how lists are managed and the impact of equipment shortage on service delivery.

UK endoscopy census 2021 statistics

• There was a 79% response rate
• Out of all responses, 55% were from the NHS sector and 53% from JAG accredited sites

• In March 2021, 33,356 lists were delivered across all services
• 53% of acute NHS services outsourced activity and 46% insourced activity
• A total of 1,533,737 endoscopic procedures were performed in 2020 across all service types
• Overall service activity was estimated to be at 80%, compared to March 2019

Wait times
• 58% of NHS services met urgent cancer waits, 18% met routine waits and 13% met surveillance waits (Jan – Mar 2021)
• Across the NHS sector, a total of 272,497 patients were on waiting lists for endoscopy
• 45% of patient were waiting 6 weeks or more

Workforce & training
• A total of 5973 endoscopists were employed across services
• Clinical endoscopists have significantly greater annual planned sessions per individual than consultant colleagues
• Band 5 staff members having significantly higher sickness and vacancy rates than other staff members
• In 2020, 80% of services had access to training

• Between Oct 2020 and March 2021, 22% of NHS services outsourced endoscopic activity (using own staff) to the private sector
• 65% of NHS services had staff redeployed compared to 15% of independent sector services
• Across all services there was an average of 45% of staff redeployed per service
• There was a mean sickness rate of 9% between October 2020 and March 2021

• 85% of services had a nominated safety lead
• In March 2021, then median number of safety incidents per service was 2
• JAG accredited and NHS services had significantly higher number of reported incidents than unaccredited or independent sector services

• 17% of OGD scopes and 15% of colonoscopes were > 10 years old across all services
• NHS services generally have a higher proportion of older equipment

• Overall, 72% of services stated they had capacity to decontaminate more scopes
• 43% stated that additional building works would be required to increase decontamination by >20%
• 59% stated that additional reprocessors or dry cabinets would be required to increase capacity by > 20%

The full results of the census including methodology can be downloaded from:

Notes on data:
• This data has been provided by individual endoscopy services. Any interpretation of the data must take this into account and recognise that validity of the data may be limited.
• JAG cannot be held responsible for the quality of the data or how it is used.

The JAG 2021 biennial census manuscript was published on May 9, 2022. The article, entitled ‘National census of UK endoscopy services 2021’ provides a unique view of how endoscopy services are adapting to continued demand, exacerbated by repeated waves of COVID-19.

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