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New Unit To Fast Track Acute Surgical Patients

New Unit At Christchurch Hospital To Fast Track Acute Surgical Patients

Patients needing acute surgical admission to Christchurch Hospital are to be fast tracked through to a new unit which aims to ensure they are treated more quickly.

A 12-bed Surgical Assessment and Review Area (SARA) is being set up in Ward 16, which was refurbished in August. Patients who see their GP or present to the Emergency Department and are identified as needing surgical treatment are admitted to the SARA, rather than to different wards across the hospital as has been done in the past.

This ensures that acute surgical staff are based in one area and patients can be assessed for surgery more effectively. It is also expected to reduce the number of people presenting to the Emergency Department.

General Surgeon Mr John Utley says under the old system the acute surgical team has traditionally had to move around the hospital to see acute patients.

Mr Utley says the initiative will allow the acute surgical team to assess patients more quickly. “If a GP needs to refer a patient because, for example, they have acute appendicitis, they will ring the acute surgical team, which will be based in this area and the patient can be admitted directly to this unit. It will bring all acute surgical cases into one area, rather than having them spread across the hospital. It will also mean we can concentrate all our expertise and equipment for investigations in the one area.”

There are about 6000 admissions each year to the general surgery department. Seventy per cent of these patients present acutely, which equates to about 20 acute presentations a day. Half of all patients presenting acutely will undergo surgery. The SARA is the surgical equivalent of the Acute Medical Assessment Unit (AMAU), which was set up last year. Both initiatives are part of the Improving the Patient Journey programme, which aims to improve patient flow through Christchurch Hospital.


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