The first phase of a £1.6million development that will provide new, gold standard surgical facilities at South Tyneside District Hospital has opened.
The day surgery zone of South Tyneside Surgical Centre, with its 27 beds and state-of-the-art equipment and surroundings, offers first-class care and a positive experience for patients requiring an operation but no overnight stay.
In the coming months, major surgery and short-stay zones will be added.
When it is completed this winter, the Surgical Centre will have 69 beds, many in individual rooms, and will offer an integrated service, with a dedicated team of doctors and nurses providing seamless care for patients.
Previously, the surgical department was spread over several wards.
The overall design is very much patient-focused and incorporates some of the most up-to-date equipment and features available in the NHS today, ensuring patient safety in an environment which enhances their experience.
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s chief operating officer Michelle Arrowsmith said: “We believe that having a designated surgical centre will allow us to better manage planned admissions and ensure that patients receive the right care in the right place from knowledgeable and skilled staff, using the most up-to-date techniques and equipment.”
The integration means staff will be based within a defined clinical area rather than spread across a number of floors, which will have a positive impact on their workload, similarly for therapists.
It should also have a positive effect on the patients’ experience as the medical and nursing staff will be visible and available when required and able to focus solely on giving surgical patients high quality care.
To achieve its vision of delivering all general surgery, gynaecology and minor orthopaedic surgery from one designated area, the Trust decided to reconfigure and modernise two existing wards to form a centre of excellence.
It already provides an excellent service for the population of South Tyneside in relation to surgical specialities.
In the past few years in particular, the surgical department has introduced innovative new ways of working which have led to significant reductions in the length of hospital stay and a quicker recovery for patients.
The development of laparoscopic (keyhole) surgical techniques for colorectal cancer has been rapid and South Tyneside District Hospital now occupies a place in the top 15 per cent of hospitals in the country that provide treatment of bowel cancer in this way.
It is also one of only two hospitals in the North East where advanced laparoscopic procedures, such as single-port surgery (a single small incision on the abdomen) for conditions such as bowel cancer, as well as polyps, Crohn’s disease, colitis and diverticular disease, are routinely performed.
The team has been invited to present their transformation work nationally.
The orthopaedic team has worked extremely hard to build their department so they can offer a wide range of expertise to treat patients with a variety of problems and it leads the field in a number of areas, including knee and hand and wrist surgery.
The surgical teams have all worked hard to improve outcomes for patients and reduce the length of time they spend in hospital by focusing on less invasive surgical techniques and postoperative pain relief and the management of fluids and diet to speed up recovery.
Mr Arun Krishna, consultant colorectal surgeon and associate medical director, said: “The medical staff are very pleased to be at the forefront of the development of the Surgical Centre, which gives us the opportunity to revolutionise care for surgical patients in South Tyneside and ensure that they get the best care and the best possible outcome.”
Michelle Arrowsmith added: “The Surgical Centre is fantastic news for patients. Where and how we deliver services is crucial to providing safe care to the highest standards.
“By reconfiguring existing accommodation, we will be able to host all surgical activity together, creating a self-sufficient department where patients are admitted and treated and from where they are discharged.
“This investment demonstrates our commitment to providing South Tyneside with the best healthcare now and into the future and will ensure value for money in relation to bed capacity and an effective and efficient service for patients requiring surgery.”
Trust Chairman Neil Mundy said: “I am delighted that the first element of this fine, new facility is now open and offer my thanks to all concerned, including our dedicated clinical, estates and facilities teams, for their hard work to make the vision of a surgical centre of excellence a reality.
“This is an important investment in the transformation of healthcare to meet the future needs of the communities we serve.”