When Jill Jones, 77, from Bradford on Avon, heard that she needed to have a general surgical operation, her first thought was how she was going to factor that in to her full time role as a carer for her husband, who has Motor Neurone Disease.
She said: “You have to take so much more into consideration when you care for someone. It’s important that, if you need care yourself, you know exactly when it will happen and for how long, so that you can plan for cover while you aren’t around.”
Luckily for Jill, an arrangement between two local sister hospitals came to the rescue. Devizes NHS Treatment Centre, which is local to Jill, carries out day case procedures and diagnostic imaging. Its sister hospital, Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre, also carries out these services but also performs major surgical procedures which require a stay in hospital.
In an arrangement designed for patient convenience, patients in and around the Wiltshire area can choose to have all their pre- and post-operation appointments at Devizes NHS Treatment Centre and have their major surgery at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre. Both services are run by the independent sector health and social care provider Care UK.
Jill added: “The experience was brilliant from start to finish and completely hassle fee. All the tests were done at the same time at Devizes and the surgery was booked there and then – no ringing round different numbers to get things sorted. What was great was that everything happened when I was told it would and it all worked perfectly well thank you!
“Both Devizes and Emersons Green were easy to get to from here, about 30 minutes or so, and the parking is free and convenient. When you rely on family and extra carers, all these things add up to make life so much easier.”
Jill was admitted to Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre on a Thursday and discharged on the Saturday: “Everyone one at both hospitals were lovely, so friendly and nothing was too much trouble. The food was great and, while I hope I don’t have to go back, if I did I’d happily go for that alone.”
To other patients in the Wiltshire area who might like to take up the two-hospital arrangement, Jill has this advice: “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this way of doing things – more people should know about it. As soon as I’ve mentioned either hospital to other people they have all said how brilliant they are – I’ve not heard a bad word against either.”
Ann Brewin, operations manager at Devizes and Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centres, said: “We are pleased that Jill has taken up our two-hospital arrangement and that it has worked well for her. We came up with the arrangement to provide patients in and around Wiltshire with more choice about where they receive their NHS treatment. It works the other way too – if it is more convenient for an Emersons Green patient to come to Devizes for, say, an endoscopy, we can facilitate that.
“Patients also benefit from shorter waiting times – our waiting times for all procedures at both hospitals fall well below the national 18 week requirement. As part of their right to choose where to have treatment, patients on a longer waiting list can also opt to transfer to a shorter one with a referral from their GP, or optician and dentist for cataract and dental surgery respectively.”