New Plan for endoscopy and urology

£70 million to ensure faster diagnosis.


A plan has been published to support faster diagnosis of cancers and other illnesses of the digestive system, bladder and prostate.

The Endoscopy and Urology Diagnostic Recovery and Renewal Plan, backed by £70 million Scottish Government investment, will focus on recovering services, supporting faster diagnosis of cancers and improving outcomes for patients.

For Endoscopy this includes:

  • using innovative new technologies as an alternative to traditional endoscopy
  • providing 20,000 more procedures to support diagnosis of cancer and other digestive system conditions by March 2023, and by 25,000 each year thereafter until 2025.
  • reducing unnecessary procedures for 7,000 new patients by 2025 by introducing a consistent approach to diagnostic testing across Scotland
  • introducing a National Endoscopy Training Programme to increase skilled practitioners.

For Urology this includes:

  • creating Diagnostic Urology Hubs to reduce waiting times for cancer, and routine diagnosis
  • supporting Scotland’s newest Diagnostic Urology Hub in NHS Highland, as well as one-stop clinics around the country.
  • developing an educational programme for Urology Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs)
  • providing 20 additional ANPs by 2025 to deliver 30,000 more procedures of the bladder.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“This will make a huge difference to people who have been waiting for a diagnosis and treatment for bladder, bowel,  stomach and prostate cancers and other conditions associated with that part of the body.

“Over the course of the pandemic some services have been harder to deliver and we recognise that there are areas for improvement.  This significant funding shows our commitment to ensuring a timely and safe diagnosis so people have access to the right care in the right place at the right time.”

Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK Genevieve Edwards said:

“We helped develop this new plan, and will continue to support the Scottish Government and NHS on its delivery so more people can survive their bowel cancer diagnosis in the future.

“With a growing ageing population and the need to increase earlier diagnosis of bowel cancer, this plan is timely and vital.

“It will ensure endoscopy services are more sustainable in the future by increasing capacity through training more staff and introducing innovative techniques. It will also reduce variation across Scotland which will ultimately improve patient experience.”


Read the Endoscopy and Urology Diagnostic Recovery and Renewal Plan in full here.

Scope-based diagnostic tests – such as endoscopy and cystoscopy - have been greatly impacted as a result of the pandemic. Due to their aerosol generating nature, services were temporarily paused and while they have resumed across NHS Scotland, necessary health protection guidance continues to impact capacity.

An endoscopy is a procedure which uses a long, thin, flexible tube that has a light and camera at one end, known as an endoscope, to see organs inside your body, usually within the digestive system. A cystoscopy uses a flexible thin tube  that has a camera to look inside the bladder and check the lining.

The Endoscopy and Urology Diagnostic Recovery and Renewal Plan has been developed in collaboration with the National Centre for Sustainable Delivery (CfSD), patients and key stakeholders including NHS Academy, the Scottish Society of Gastroenterology, the Scottish Urological Society and many Third Sector organisations.

The plan focuses on five key areas: Balancing Demand and Capacity; Optimising Clinical Pathways; Improving Quality and Efficiency; Workforce, Training and Development; and Infrastructure, Innovation and Redesign.


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