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Barnstaple hospital one of the best in country for gall bladder surgery

By tinap  |  Posted: October 23, 2012

The team behind the day case success at NDDH, spearheaded by surgeon Nick Markham (front)

The team behind the day case success at NDDH, spearheaded by surgeon Nick Markham (front)

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The North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple has been ranked fourth in the country for its record on performing gall bladder surgery as day cases.

The figures were released as part of the Audit Commission's ongoing review into day surgery.

The secrets behind the hospital's success and other high-performing units will now be used to share best practice across the country.

Surgeon Nick Markham led a project to review day case procedures and has been behind the development of laparoscopic gall bladder surgery at NDDH.

John Taylor, clinical director for surgery, put the Trust's success down to streamlined admission procedures, a standardised approach to treatment and recovery and changes to anaesthetic practices.

John said the Trust had been at the forefront of day surgery for the past few years and praised staff for driving the success.

He said: "Three years ago, it was an overnight stay for virtually all gall bladder cases, but not now.

"We've got enthusiastic staff and this has really been taken on by the surgeons, who have embraced it.

"It has been led by a real enthusiast in Nick Markham, and that's been the key."

Nick was also full of praise for his colleagues.

He said: "Day surgery is a team effort and the success we celebrate is a result of the hard work of an enthusiastic and dedicated team, with whom it is a real pleasure to work.

"When everyone recognises the great results that are possible and feel well motivated, it is amazing what can be achieved.

"Everyone involved – from the booking office through to the ward staff, theatre personnel and some very slick anaesthetists – is to be congratulated on making this project the success it has proved to be."

John said advancements in day surgery had brought great benefits to patients, who no longer need to stay in hospital overnight.

He said: "It cuts down on hospital stays, reduces costs and at a time of pressure on beds, it reduces that pressure.

"It keeps patients out of hospital when they don't need to be there – and patients would obviously rather be at home."

The Audit Commission visited NDDH to gain a closer insight into its work around day surgery.

John said: "They will take it away, prepare a report and make recommendations about how the lower-performing Trusts can improve."

The Northern Devon Healthcare Trust achieved similar success in the general surgery category, featuring mainly hernia procedures.

It came fifth out of 149 units having performed 83% of all eligible procedures as day cases, compared to the national target of 70%.

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