North East London NHS Treatment Centre wins praise and award at top day surgery conference

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Research into post-operative patient care, carried out at the North East London NHS Treatment Centre, has won a gold award at the British Association of Day Surgery’s (BADS) annual scientific meeting in Southport.

BADS aims to provide information about day surgery for patients, relatives, carers and healthcare professionals and the work carried out by the team at the centre, in Barley Road Ilford, was voted for by a panel of medical professionals at the recent conference.

The Care UK team carried out a year-long study throughout 2012 on the acceptability to patients of having a telephone follow-up conversation with a trained nurse 48 hours after their hernia or gallbladder operations, rather than a face-to-face consultation with a member of the surgery team four to six weeks later.

Ian Crate, clinical director at North East London NHS Treatment Centre, said: “Complications with this type of surgery tend to happen within days of the operation, so it has always puzzled me why clinicians traditionally leave the post-operative consultation for six weeks when any complications have already been addressed. It inconveniences the patient and takes the team away from carrying out more procedures.”

The patients were called by a senior nurse within a four-hour time slot two days after their day case surgery. Ian said: “We carried out the telephone consultations with 359 people who had received treatment for hernias and 99 people who had their gallbladders removed using keyhole surgery.

“The overwhelming majority were happy with the service at the 48-hour point, with less than 2 percent saying they were unhappy. We checked back with them six weeks later and every single patient agreed that the telephone conversation had actually been the best and most convenient method for them.

“They told us that they liked the convenience, the reassurance of the conversation and the reminder the nurse gave them that the team are just at the end of a phone should they need to talk or make an appointment to see us.”

The judges at the BADS event agreed with the patients. Ian and his team presented their findings and were on hand at the conference to answer questions from fellow surgeons, anaesthetists and specialist nurses. The judging panel were greatly impressed with the study and presented the team with a gold award.

Ian said: “I was delighted that the judges recognised the strength and importance of the work carried out by my team - Omulade Thomas, Walter Morris and Steve Barker. Care UK has now invited me to roll out the procedure across its nine centres nationwide that deliver laparoscopic surgery, and in Ilford we will begin to look at how we can use the technique to benefit some of our orthopaedic patients.”

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