A new emergency surgical service is up and running at Scunthorpe hospital which is assessing, treating and discharging patients on the same day.
Patients referred to the surgical ambulatory care service are seen by a senior clinician so decisions about their care can be made quickly, preventing where possible the need for them to be admitted to an inpatient bed.
Divisional head of nursing Jenn Orton said: “Traditionally acute surgical patients are admitted to a hospital ward and assessed by a consultant to decide what diagnostics or treatment they might need.
“Ambulatory care is based on the idea that some conditions can be managed without the need to admit people as an inpatient, as we have the appropriate diagnostic and support services to hand.”
She said patients receive the treatment they would previously have received as an inpatient, apart from the fact they don’t need to stay overnight.
The new surgical ambulatory care service is located on ward 28. It is open seven days a week between 9am and 8pm, and sees people referred by A&E or the patient’s own GP.
Ward manager Katie Goodhand said: “Our ultimate aim is to ensure that surgical patients are managed in the most appropriate way. If we can treat them and send them home we will do so in a timely manner. They may need a follow-up appointment at an outpatient clinic, or in some instances they may be identified as needing surgery in which they will go home with a theatre date.
“There may also be instances where we need to admit the patient for treatment there and then. It is all about making sure the patient receives the right treatment, at the right time and in the right place.”
Katie said by opening the service it would hopefully ease some of the pressure on A&E, as well as free up hospital beds.
She said: “Our patients get a complete comprehensive assessment, we order any urgent tests such as bloods and ultrasound scans and work with the wider teams to devise an appropriate plan of action for each patient. It is tailor made to meet individual needs.”
Patients have to meet a specific set of criteria before they are referred to the service. The types of patients include: pain being managed by oral analgesia, non-specific stomach pain, post-operative wound problems, some abscesses, gallbladder/gallstone attack and some hernias.
Jenn added: “It is about trying to reduce the number of surgical patients admitted to hospital. We know that low risk patients can be managed in an ambulatory care setting and discharged back to the comfort of their own home.”
Staff on the ward were presented with a cake by divisional head of nursing Jenn Orton and deputy divisional head of nursing Helen Davis, to celebrate the new surgical ambulatory care service.