Endoscopy action plan

This action plan to improve Scotland's endoscopy service covers a 24-month period and sets out steps to ensure that all new patients will be seen within six weeks for key endoscopic tests.

The Plan


The Endoscopy Action Plan (EAP) is supported with base funding of £6 million of new investment announced in 2018/19 and covers the four main Endoscopy procedures as follows:

  • Upper Endoscopy
  • Lower Endoscopy (excluding Colonoscopy)
  • Colonoscopy
  • Cystoscopy

There has already been some success in reducing overall numbers waiting for an endoscope.

Development & Governance

This Endoscopy Action Plan (EAP) has wide clinical support and is aligned with the Scottish Access Collaborative (SAC) Framework. The plan is part of the overall Scottish Government Waiting Times Improvement Plan (WTIP) which will be delivered in close partnership with Boards and will be reported through the WTIP governance structures moving forward.

Aim & Objectives

Over the next 24 months, the Endoscopy Action Plan will ensure that:

  • 90% of new patients will wait no more than six weeks for one of the four key endoscopic tests:
    • Upper Endoscopy;
    • Lower Endoscopy (excluding Colonoscopy);
    • Colonoscopy and
    • Cystoscopy.
  • The most urgent patients (including those referred as ‘urgent suspicion of cancer’ and from the national bowel screening programme) are prioritised referral pathways. This plan will lay the foundation for 100% of patients to be seen within 6 weeks by Spring 2022.

The Endoscopy Action Plan will:

  • Reduce the number of patients waiting over six weeks through provision of additional clinics, implementing key improvement programmes such as the use of qFIT to support primary care referral, and use of endoscopy management systems to aid booking and scheduling of patients.
  • Increase clinical effectiveness by developing and implementing new guidance for surveillance and follow-up, implementing the revised Scottish Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer, implementation of three stage clinical validation, review clinical pathways such as haematuria, and expansion of nurse endoscopist training.
  • Increase understanding of referral demand and capacity by developing new management information and review quality by audit and accreditation of endoscopy units.
  • Pilot and invest in new technologies such as transnasal endoscopy and capsular endoscopy.


Email: Jean.Wright@gov.scot

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