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Vascular patients benefit from specialist unit link

11 October 2012

The Royal Derby Hospital has joined forces with the Chesterfield Royal Hospital – to form an integrated vascular service for the whole of Derbyshire.

The 50 patients or so from the north of the county who need complex vascular surgical procedures every year will benefit from the new link with a larger, specialist unit.  The new service will ensure that patients who need complicated vascular operations (such as abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs) have their surgery carried out by an expert surgical team based at the Royal Derby Hospital. It will concentrate the specialist skills and back-up in one place – helping to give a 24/7 dedicated and expert service, which will particularly benefit emergency patients.

Dr Ian Gell, medical director at the Royal explains more: “Vascular surgery across the country has been reviewed; and clinical experts have concluded that this challenging surgery would be more appropriately carried out in larger units; where surgeons and their operating teams can more readily develop and maintain the highly specialised skills required.  The changes will provide patients with an enhanced quality of service in the future; and excellent clinical outcomes.”

Whilst surgery will take place in Derby, patients from North Derbyshire will continue to have their pre and post-operative care and appointments locally at the Royal.  Vascular consultants will also continue to support other services at Chesterfield Royal, as well as continuing to undertake less complex vascular procedures. 

“The overall aim is to make sure the small number of patients who need very specialist care get the very best treatment, in the right place and with the most appropriate clinicians,” continues Dr Gell. “We are delighted that in this case we are able to work closely with other NHS colleagues for the benefit of our patients and communities.”

The new partnership with Derby creates a Derbyshire wide vascular service that can grow and develop.  Sue James, Chief Executive at Derby Hospitals, said: “Combining the services of the two hospitals will enable the patients of Derbyshire to receive the highest standard of vascular care in one Derbyshire-wide integrated service.

“The countrywide review identified the way forward as services being more appropriately delivered in larger units such as the Royal Derby Hospital. Patients across the county will benefit from the strengthened surgical team in Derby; and concentrating the major operations on one site will ensure that the necessary clinical support services are also maintained and improved - whilst enabling the development of newer techniques and vascular radiological procedures.

“We have been very pleased to work with Chesterfield clinicians and managers to develop this new service, which we hope will act as a blue print for partnership working with other neighbouring hospitals in the future.”

In addition to the two hospitals working together, the change in practice has had support from North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (who purchase services on behalf of the local population). 

Dr Ben Milton, Chair of the CCG and GP, agrees that this will provide patients with higher standards of care: “The new national standards for vascular surgery, especially in terms of numbers of operations carried out, put us in danger of not being able to provide this service locally after April 2013.  By working together we believe these new arrangements place vascular services in a much improved position – keeping specialist expertise in Derbyshire; and providing patients with the best possible care.”