Friday, 9 December 2011

Single Visit Surgical Service

When we look at providing healthcare services we should look at it from a patient's perspective. For instance, ''how often would the patient have to travel to the hospital to obtain healthcare services?'' is not the top question in any providers mind when they design the service.

This results in the patients traveling often to secondary care services even for obviously clear problems such as hernias, varicose veins etc.

At Goole Hospital we provide a single visit general surgery service for patients who need day case and short stay surgical procedures. This may mean procedures likes superficial lumps and bumps, toe-nails, etc. This also means patients who have groin hernias including recurrent groin hernias and gall stones (needing laparoscopic cholecystectomy).  Obviously there has to be a clear cut diagnosis based on obvious findings followed by some appropriate investigations by the general practitioners. These patients visit Goole Hospital only once to obtain their surgical care. The patients are telephone pre-assessed. They come to the hospital at about 8 am and are seen by nurses, anaesthetists, surgeons and residual simple investigations are performed instantly; they are operated during the day and discharged when they meet clinical criteria often within the day. They are not offered specific follow up out patient appointments but can ring to make one if they felt they needed it.

We do inguinal hernia repairs, laparoscopic cholecystectomies and many other procedures as a part of this service. The service has been running for a good few years.

My personal calculations are that this saves money overall, especially saves on travel costs for patients and their relatives. My feeling is many of the services provided by healthcare are currently very hospital focussed. When the processes becomes patient focussed there is a good chance that quality could improve while saving on costs at the same time. It is up to us to manage our services and processes maturely - our poor design should not trouble the patients.

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Warning & Disclaimer:
We do not claim superior clinical results. We only describe our process/pathway. Not all patients with any of the conditions stated above or with other similar conditions are suitable for this service. Your GP is best placed to advice the kind of pathway that could be suitable to you. This blog/website does not give clinical/medical advice. The views expressed are my personal views and not those of my hospital or the NHS.


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