Patients to Benefit from Changes to Surgery Services

Surgery services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust are set for a change-around this week as part of our commitment to provide the best possible care to patients across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales.

A number of our adult inpatient surgery services, where patients have to stay overnight, are being consolidated at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital from tomorrow (Tuesday 24 July). The change means that all surgery requiring an overnight stay which is connected to arteries and veins, the intestine, stomach, kidney and other organs will now take place at the RSH. Inpatient breast surgery will remain based at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, while Trauma and Orthopaedics procedures will continue on both sites. Head and Neck inpatient surgery is currently based at the RSH but will be relocated to the PRH in the autumn. Inpatient gynaecology services will remain at the RSH but are scheduled to move to PRH in 2014 as part of the new Women and Children’s Unit.

Most patients who visit our hospitals, though, will not be affected by the changes. Surgical outpatient appointments and day case surgery (which accounts for around 80% of surgical procedures) will continue to take place at both hospitals. You will still access emergency care in the same way you always have. If you need medical attention then you can seek advice from your GP, from out-of-hours service NHS Direct or from other local services. If you need urgent medical assistance then you will continue to talk to your GP or dial 999 and they will make sure you are directed to the right place for the care you need.

Concentrating our surgical services at the RSH means that if your GP suspects you need urgent surgical care or if you call an ambulance because of abdominal pain, you will be directed/ taken to the RSH. If you arrive in Telford and it is felt that you may need surgery, then you will be safely transferred to RSH.

Steve Peak, Interim Chief Executive, said: “This is the first of a series of changes we are making to our hospital in order to keep our services in the county and ensure that our doctors are in the right place at the right time to care for our patients.

“Consolidating inpatient surgery at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will allow us to provide the very best surgical services to patients across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales. It also strengthens our role as a Trauma Unit for the region.”

As a result of the changes coming into force tomorrow, patients will benefit from a new Surgical Assessment Unit (SAU) at the RSH where they will be assessed and, if needed, quickly taken to theatre for surgery. There is also a new Surgical Short Stay ward where patients can be monitored and treated and either discharged home after a short stay or admitted to one of the impatient wards if they require ongoing care.

We have also improved the layout of our surgical unit to help patients be treated faster and more easily. The new SAU is based next to theatres and critical care and there is a new entrance alongside A&E.  Patients will also benefit from new shower facilities, day assessment, treatment, clinical and consulting rooms and additional counselling facilities.

Mr Tony Fox, Vascular Surgeon and Centre Chief for Surgery, said: “We are very excited about the changes we are making to our surgical services.

“Our new Surgical Assessment Unit and Surgical Short Stay ward will mean that all surgical patients will benefit from modern, purpose built facilities close to theatres and critical care. The unit is accessed by a new entrance next to A&E and contains additional counselling facilities and a new ambulatory care area with clinical and consulting rooms. 

“Patients can be assessed in a timely fashion and, if needed, taken to theatre for surgery. We hope to develop the ambulatory area offering emergency clinics in partnership with our GPs and the Care Coordination Centre.”

Work is also due to start soon on improving women and children’s services at RSH and building a new Women and Children’s Unit at PRH, which will open in summer 2014.

The full business case for these changes was approved earlier this year by the Board of the regional health authority, NHS Midlands and East and follows extensive local review and scrutiny from the Primary Care Trust Cluster, Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and GPs in Clinical Commissioning Groups.

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