Patients can now have hysterectomies as day cases thanks to a new partnership and a procedure introduced recently at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.
A quarter of all hysterectomies performed at Walsall so far in 2023 have been day cases, meaning patients undergo the procedure and go home the same day. Prior to this, patients underwent laparoscopic keyhole surgery for this procedure. Before that, all were done as open hysterectomies, which meant the patient had to stay in hospital for one to three days.
“There has been a real push towards day-case hysterectomies with the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme and the Integrated Care System (ICS) Gynae network,” said Ms Vinita Gurung, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Walsall Healthcare, and pictured front right in the group photo and also on her own. “Now we have started the service and since January 2023 we have completed 13 out of 51 hysterectomies as day cases, which is 25 per cent.”
After the surgery, the patient goes from recovery to the discharge lounge. Then after four to six hours, they are discharged, provided the surgeon is happy.
“This process makes for a better patient experience – they’re up and about sooner and they can sleep in their own bed. It also helps with theatre utilisation,” added Ms Gurung. "In terms of recovery, the patients are absolutely fine. I had an 81-year-old patient say to me ‘Have you really done the surgery? I don’t feel any pain.’”
Mr Fateh Ghazal, Divisional Director Women’s, Children’s and Clinical Support Services at Walsall Healthcare, added: “Currently, less than 35 per cent of organisations in England offer such a service.
“By developing a surgical hub for day-case hysterectomy at Walsall, all women in the Black Country will be able to receive safe, effective care with high patient satisfaction. This initiative will also increase training opportunities and support the NHS Green Plan.”
The service has been developed through the Black Country Provider Collaborative (BCPC), a partnership between Walsall Healthcare, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust. Its primary aim is to reduce patient inequalities by offering services quicker and closer to home, if possible.
Ms Gurung added: “The team is very enthusiastic about the Black Country being at the forefront. In terms of collaboration, we hope to operate on three or four patients as day-cases per day. To ensure our collaborators and colleagues aren’t de-skilled, we hope to ‘buddy up’. As we do more of these procedures, we’ll be moving to high-volume, low complexity day case hysterectomies where we do four in one session.”