Hundreds more Evesham patients set to benefit from endoscopy procedures closer to home
Hundreds more Evesham patients are set to benefit from endoscopy procedures closer to home every year – improving care and reducing waiting times for patients across the county.
Demand for endoscopic procedures - where a flexible tube is inserted into the body to examine, take samples from or operate on a patient’s internal organs - is increasing, both locally and nationally, with waiting times increasing as a result.
By making better use of the current operating theatre space at Evesham and investing in more equipment, staff and improved facilities, doctors, nurses and hospital bosses are planning to reduce waiting times and improve patient care for thousands of patients.
Dr Julian Berlet, Consultant Anaesthetist and Divisional Director of Medicine for the Specialised Clinical Services Division at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “By investing around £130,000 in the current financial year in extra equipment, and £260,000 a year in future years, we could increase the number of Evesham patients having their endoscopy at Evesham Community Hospital from 294 each year to 645.”
Richard Lovegrove, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Clinical Lead for Endoscopy at the Trust, said: “An endoscopy can often play a key part in diagnosis, and surveillance for many cancer patients. This means it is important that patients needing endoscopies get them in a timely fashion so that their treatment can begin without undue delay. This would make a real difference to those patients, helping us to speed up their diagnosis and start treatment more quickly, all whilst remaining in their local community.”
Graham James, Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon and Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Trust, said: “We have not been able to use the operating theatres as well as we would like, because of difficulties in identifying suitable patients and recruitment challenges for theatre staff. This means we aren’t making the most of the facilities at Evesham, or getting the best out of the time of our theatre teams.
“Our surgical teams have suggested that if we can offer the patients who would previously have had these operations at Evesham a choice of having them at one of our other hospitals – probably Kidderminster or the Alexandra at Redditch - the operating theatre space and time freed up could be used much more efficiently for endoscopy patients.”
The first step would be to move operations from Evesham to other hospital sites to enable new equipment needed for the expanded endoscopy service to be fitted. That would be followed by a phased increase in the number of endoscopies being carried out.
The expanded unit – which would also continue to carry out around 25 per cent of the procedures currently offered in the operating theatres, including the pain clinic – would be expected to working at full capacity in approximately 18-24 months, with around 8,670 patients benefiting, up from 2,600 now.
Evesham Community Hospital is run by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust. Jo Whitehouse, the Health and Care Trust’s Lead for Community Hospitals, said: “The Trust is committed to maintaining a thriving and well utilised hospital in Evesham and welcomes plans which will further increase activity and overall use of the site, both for local people and for patients right across Worcestershire”.
The plans are part of the wider strategic vision for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, and in line with the principles of the developing Clinical Services Strategy which is looking at how services across the whole county will best serve the needs of a growing and ageing population over the next five years.