"NHS partnerships do work"

About: Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre

(as a relative),

My husband has recently had a right total hip replacement. We had our first experience of the Choose and Book service, which was extremely positive apart from one slightly frustrating episode at the very start of the process, which involved our GP practice and Rotherham NHS Trust. An appointment was attempted by the GP practice but there were none posted on the website for the orthopaedic services for hip and knee clinics. It took the staff at the GP practice three days to get an appointment and she ended up having to telephone the orthopaedic management to put the appointments on the system!

In the end, an appointment for the 2nd April 2008 was made and my husband was seen in the orthopaedic triage clinic by a physiotherapist. He was offered a choice of hospitals; either Rotherham NHS Trust, where he could have been waiting for treatment up to 20 weeks or the Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre where the wait was 4 weeks. There was no contest! On the 8th April 2008 he was seen by the orthopaedic consultant, the anaesthetist and an assessment nurse at the Barlborough Treatment Centre.

He had x-rays and blood taken and at the end of the assessment had discussed the type of hip replacement he wanted and was given a date for the operation. The date was set for admission on the 9th May 2008 and the surgery planned for the 10th May 2008. Because he had had DVT in the last six months, he was advised to have a spinal epidural anaesthetic and he was put first on the list.

Two weeks before his admission, an occupational therapist came to our home and brought all the equipment required for my husband's rehabilitation. He explained the total hip replacement pathway, including the home care such as the district nurse visits for wound care and suture removal, and afforded us time to ask any questions we had.

My husband was admitted on Friday 9th May for an heparin type injection before the surgery which took place on Saturday 10th May 2008. He had the total hip replacement he had requested as this was his second one. His previous left hip replacement was done at the early age of 50 years and he had a metal on metal replacement at Rotherham District General Hospital. Unfortunately, the surgeon cracked his femur when doing the surgery and as a result his post operative recovery was far more painful than it should have been. For this replacement and now aged 60 years, he wanted the same type or an equivalent.

After discussions with the surgeon at the preadmission assessment at Barlborough he was given a ceramic on ceramic right total hip replacement. His subsequent care and recovery were second to none. He had his own ensuite room and was monitored very carefully by skilled nursing staff and doctors. The ward atmosphere was calm, unhurried and extremely clean. There is no MRSA at Barlborough. My husband's recovery as a result was uneventful and he was discharged home on the 4th day after the operation. The care and management is based on a 5 day pathway and we were told everything several times over.

Day 2, Sunday, after the surgery my husband was seen by the physiotherapist and was shown how to get in and out of bed and was sat out of bed as well as standing and walking with the aid of crutches. Day 2 he was seen again by the physiotherapist and progressed to further exercises and mobility. Day 3 his drain was removed and the wound redressed. Day 4 he had the last of his intravenous antibiotic drug and he attended a group session with other patients who had undergone the same surgery. At this session, he was shown how to get in and out of a car and the dos and don'ts were reinforced. He felt ready to go home and because all his drugs were kept in his bedside locker, locked away all his drugs were ready for him to take home.

This was an excellent service on the NHS. We were very impressed. As a recently retired senior health professional working nationally for the NHS I have to report that on this occasion the NHS politics seem to be working. Moving cold orthopaedic surgery and treatments into the NHS and private partnership works. The benefits for the patient is unsurpassed and the economics work too. The patient benefits are excellent. Patients not only get the planned treatment on the date scheduled they also get expert care as the centre by it's very nature can only allow staff to become more skilled the more treatments and operations it does. What's more the centre works weekends! Theatres are used to their capacity and patients are cared for in a clean and comfortable environment away from the busy general orthopaedic wards where emergency care of other patients may require planned surgery to be canceled. Patients are enabled to recover in a quiet calm environment away from the hustle and bustle of often less than adequately staffed wards in a busy general hospital.

The Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre is an Independent Sector Treatment Centre. It is run by an independent company on behalf of the NHS for NHS patients, and is part of the Government’s initiative to offer patients more choice and to reduce waiting lists. There are day case treatments available, plenty of free parking places, a cafeteria and written information to support all the treatments and their management. In our experience this worked extremely well and we were more than satisfied with the care and treatment we received.

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