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New surgical care service at Craigavon Hospital reducing overnight stays

A new service for people suffering from urgent surgical conditions is transforming care for a number of patients and reducing unnecessary overnight hospital stays at Craigavon Area Hospital.

The Southern Trust’s ACCESS (Ambulatory Care Craigavon Emergency Surgical Service) is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland to be led by a Consultant Surgeon, with its own dedicated clinical room, diagnostic imaging and theatre access.

The clinic operates Monday to Friday, for surgical patients referred from the Emergency Department.

Since it was set up last year, 264 patients have used the service, freeing up hospital beds for patients who needed them more.

Consultant General Surgeon, Susan Yoong who leads the ACCESS service says: “We had found that many patients who were actually well enough to stay in their own home were being admitted to an inpatient ward while waiting for investigations or treatment.

“Given the choice, most of our patients would prefer to get treated and go home rather than stay overnight in hospital and for many emergency surgical patients this is possible.

“Rather than admit every surgical patient from the Emergency Department to an inpatient ward, those who are suitable, are referred to us for investigation, diagnosis and management for lower risk surgical problems like hernias, gallstones, abscesses or abdominal pain.

“We examine, diagnose and in some cases operate on the same day. If suitable, patients will be discharged home later in the day following their surgery; others are given an urgent appointment to return for their operation; or outpatient investigations and reviews are arranged.

Feedback from patients has been very positive with some comments from those who have used the service including: “This is an excellent service and should be rolled out across all specialties.”

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