July 8, 2008
Specialist Care for Every Single Patient ; NHS at 60: South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust
RESPIRATORY disease is a major health problem and is on the rise in the UK. It is the second biggest killer in the country, with one in five people dying from the disease. One person in every seven in the UK is affected by lung disease - approximately eight million people.
Although a major factor, lung disease is not simply smoking- related and other factors such as genetics, nutrition, social deprivation and air pollution all affect lung health.
In South Tyneside the respiratory team look after patients with a wide variety of respiratory conditions, including obstructive sleep apnea, tuberculosis and restrictive lung diseases. They also provide services for lung cancer as well as pneumonia and for chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) such as emphysema, asthma and bronchitis.
Many cases are the result of occupational exposure to materials - a grim legacy left by the region's industrial heritage.
With a commitment to providing the most efficient and effective system of care, the team offer waiting times of less than two weeks for new patients.
Looking ahead the team plan to set up a 'one-stop shop' for lung cancer referrals. Simply put, the hospital would be able to offer patients clinic consultation, a bronchoscopy and a CT scan in one day, streamlining the assessment process and reducing the anxiety patients can suffer during in the lead up to diagnosis and treatment. This will be a fantastic development much appreciated by patients and staff alike.
NHS hospitals face a challenging and fast-changing environment and having excellent emergency services is central to effective acute hospital care.
Typically, the Accident and Emergency Department in South Tyneside sees around 52,000 patients each year and about 7,500 of these need admission to hospital.
As part of the hospital's ongoing programme of modernisation and service development, work is under way to develop a new 'Integrated Emergency Care Centre' which will bring together all emergencies making sure that a combined team of professionals are available as the patient arrives at hospital to quickly assess, treat and make a decision about ongoing care.
This will be supported by the hospital's diagnostic services.
The new purpose-built unit is being designed with patient privacy and service quality in mind and led by Dr Shaz Wahid, the facility will be clinically managed by a team of consultant acute physicians.
It is an exciting time for emergency services in South Tyneside and another example of looking to the future to make sure good quality care is always available.
CARE OF THE ELDERLY
IT'S natural for people to assume that their local hospital only provides hospital care.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact most of South Tyneside Foundation Trust's patients don't need to come into hospital and they are successfully cared for at home with hospital staff working in close partnership with the patient, their family and other agencies.
This is never more true than in the care of elderly people. Consultant geriatrician and medical director, Dr Alan Rodgers says rapid access to assessment and treatment with good community support is the key to high quality health care for older people.
He has for many years led a service which ensures that older people are supported to live at home for as long as possible while having the back up of the specialist hospital and community teams where needed.
This is particularly important in South Tyneside because 6,000 people are aged 80 and over.
In addition 36,000 people have a long-term illness, 6,700 people have diabetes and 8,000 people have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. With just over 10% of the population acting as unpaid carers and 2.7% providing more than 50 hours of unpaid care per week, this partnership approach to care is vital.
South Tyneside Trust has four consultants who have a range of special interests.
Dr Rodgers has a special interest in Parkinson's disease, osteoporosis, palliative care and orthopaedic rehabilitation.
Dr Jon Scott has a special interest in stroke disease. Dr Katia Liang has a special interest in falls and orthopaedic rehabilitation and Dr Becky Wiseman has a special interest in memory problems.
With very low waiting times and consultant clinics every day of the week, the service is based on a very flexible system to allow fast turn round and assessment.
PATIENTS from all over North East England needing surgery for cancer of the stomach or gullet now go to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary for their ops.
This centralised system of treatment, used for the past five years, is described as a hub and spoke operation, the RIV being the hub and the region's healthcare providers, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust included, being the spokes.
South Tyneside's Trust is unique, however.
Kamil Wynne is a consultant surgeon in upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancer based at South Tyneside District Hospital and the RVI. Not only does he assess patients in South Tyneside but he also accompanies them to the RVI to operate on them.
He said: "We are part of this hub and spoke system, although we are slightly different because I go with the patients from South Tyneside, I operate on them, and then bring them back here".
Mr Wynne explains the situation to patients and their families at South Tyneside District Hospital.
"Patients are getting the best of both worlds", he said.
"They have the specialist services, but have a familiar face going with them. It makes a huge difference."
The endoscopy unit in South Tyneside also has a complete staging centre, at which various scans and tests are conducted before surgery. It is the only unit other that the RVI to have an endoscopic ultra-sound machine.
Patients from other trusts have to go to the RVI for their staging investigations.
That means patients are diagnosed and staged for treatment in South Tyneside much quicker than anywhere else, normally within a week.
Mr Wynne said: "Other hospitals diagnose there is a cancer but they can't assess the severity of it as quickly as we can".
The Trust sees an average of 60 new patients with stomach and gullet cancer each year, but only 15 to 20 need surgery. The rest receive palliative treatment.
(c) 2008 The Journal - Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.