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Community based surgical services on the increase

Community based surgical services on the increase
08/10/2013

The advent of day surgery has not only transformed the approach to elective surgery in hospitals, it is also now making a significant impact in the community.

Doctors’ surgeries and specialist medical centres are increasingly acquiring the facilities to carry out minor procedures such as carpal tunnel release, vasectomies and hernia repairs. One company which was very much a pioneer of community-based surgical services is the Independent Health Group (IHG), which specializes in delivering NHS services to primary care and now has eight centres across the UK.

Operations Manager Carole Coombs explained: ‘The inspiration for our business came from Dr Matt Wordsworth in Swindon who is a GP with a special interest in Surgery or GPwSI, and is still our Clinical Director today as well as being the Honorary Secretary of the Association for Surgeons in Primary Care.

‘He has always been passionate about providing more patient-focused care: offering this kind of minor procedure in a place that is much closer to home.

‘From the patient’s point of view, there are many advantages: the centre is not trying to juggle its time and resources between elective and emergency surgery, so there tend to be fewer cancellations and less waiting time.

It avoids any anxieties people have about going into hospital and possible exposure to infection, but perhaps most reassuring of all is the continuity: the doctor and the team the patient meets when they are referred to us are the same people they will see on the day of their procedure – and at their follow up appointment.’

IHG stresses that its surgical teams are all either GPwSI or surgeons who work substantively with either the local acute hospital trust or the PCT/CCG, and they have rigorous clinical governance and sharing of results and practices to maintain their CPD accreditation's and appraisal.

Carole stresses the importance of quality equipment in new surgical centres – which have not always been designed for the purpose. She told Inside Theatre: ‘There’s no doubt that Anetic Aid is a quality provider, but I’ve know the company a very long time and what I really appreciate is how helpful and friendly they are. If I have any kind of problem in terms of sourcing or adapting equipment, I know they will go out of their way to help me solve it.’

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