A dedicated unit for urgent plastic surgery at Wexham Park Hospital has made a big impact in its first year of operation.
The plastics urgent care (PUC) clinic provides fast, state-of-the-art care for people with open wounds and injuries.
Up to 10 patients a day are signposted straight from the hospital’s emergency department (ED) while others may bypass it altogether. And most are seen within five minutes of their arrival.
So while EDs across the country struggle to hit the target of discharging, admitting or transferring 95% of patients within four hours, there are no such issues for Wexham emergency patients who require plastic surgery.
Wexham’s plastic surgery team held the official opening of the PUC in April, with senior Trust leaders joining clinicians and support staff for the ceremony.
Guest of honour was former consultant plastic surgeon Magdy Saad, who joined Wexham Park in 1968 and helped to build Wexham’s reputation as a centre of excellence for plastic surgery.
Mr Saad said: “Looking at the department now, it fills me with joy.
“It is a very happy department, it has expanded and I’m delighted to see what has happened here.
“I wish the team all the best as it continues to get stronger and stronger.”
Consultant plastic surgeon and service lead Rajan Uppal revealed that Mr Saad later wrote to him suggesting “the golden era of Wexham” had returned.
The PUC, which has its own upgraded operating theatre, is part of Wexham’s wider plastics service that now sees 33,000 people a year, including many from Frimley Park.
The service also includes a nurse-led dressing clinic, specialising in post-operative care to help with wound healing, and a closed hand injury clinic (CHIC) for injuries such as broken bones and sprains. Historically less than 50% of CHIC patients would have been seen by a consultant; now the figure is in excess of 90%.
Consultant plastic surgeon Richard Baker said: “The PUC has been a huge success and it has had a very positive effect in ED.
“We have surveyed patients and they are very happy. Of the patients coming to the PUC clinic, 77% were seen within five minutes of arrival.
“At the PUC we perform minor surgery and we wash and stitch wounds, but we would like to do more, including fixing nerves and tendons.
“We will be upgrading the theatre and want to see it running all day every day, Monday to Friday, so that most of our trauma operations can be done here, taking the pressure off the hospital’s main theatres.”
Frimley Health chief executive Neil Dardis said: “These services only succeed where there is great leadership and really aspirational teams who work together to continue to improve care for patients, and our plastics department has that in abundance.
“We’re proud of our new ED, but we are equally proud that patients don’t always have to go there to get the high quality, specialist care they need.”