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Pilot Project Underway at West Suffolk Hospital

25 January 2005

A pilot project to provide a short stay facility for surgical patients is underway at West Suffolk Hospital.

The pilot, which runs for 11 weeks, will see specially selected patients requiring certain types of surgery having their operation and being discharged within 23 hours.

The short stay facility has been created at the hospital’s *Martin Corke Day Surgery Unit. Surgery performed in the 23-hour facility will include: oral surgery, vascular, general surgery, specialist colo-rectal, gynaecology, urology, ear, nose and throat, orthopaedic, opthalmology and plastic surgery.

The short stay facility will only be available for adult patients as national guidelines state that children must be treated by paediatric nurses and doctors. There will be no paediatric staff available overnight.

Trish Harris, Clinical Services Manager for operating departments and endoscopy services, said: "This has been tried in other hospitals across the country and found to be very successful.

It has huge benefits for patients. Patients will be able to stay overnight in the same environment in which they had their surgery, being looked after by the same staff, they can go home first thing in the morning and they often recover more quickly by going home to their own bed to rest.

"It is also beneficial for our day patients. Some patients who have had a minor operation and are expected to go home the same day sometimes need just that extra bit of time to recover. In that situation they have to be transferred to a bed in the main hospital. They can now have a bed in 23-hour stay unit and do not need to leave the environment in which they were treated.

"It also frees up beds for other patients who need longer stays in the main hospital."

Not all patients will be suitable for the 23 hour stay facility, others require more specialist care over a longer period. But for those patients that meet the clinical criteria can have their operation and be discharged within 24 hours.

Trish Harris added: "It has taken a tremendous effort from staff to get this pilot set up and feedback from patients has been very positive. Itıs safe, effective and most patients prefer it."

A clinical audit and patient survey will be carried out in April. The Trust will then decide whether to provide a permanent 23-hour stay facility at the hospital.


* Martin Corke Day Surgery Unit was built in 1994 to cater for patients that need minor surgery which could be carried out during the day without a need for to stay overnight.



West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust