Patients with long-term health conditions of the liver and digestive system will have access to improved treatment and shorter waiting times, thanks to funding from Nottingham Hospitals Charity.
The £225,000 Charity funding will revolutionise treatment for patients with liver disease, stomach or bowel problems, as well as managing patients who need blood infusions or to receive medicine intravenously on a regular basis.
Consultant in Hepatology, Emilie Wilkes says: “Our patients often have a course of intensive therapy, lasting between four to eight weeks, before further maintenance treatment which can last years. Some treatments need to be administered weekly and can involve long period of medication administered directly into a vein. We also have patients who need to have blood taken regularly because their body fails to regulate their iron effectively. In the initial stages these patients have to come to hospital quite frequently and stay for long periods of time, so it is important they have access to treatment when they need it, delivered in a way that suits them.
She continued: “This project aims to transform how we deal with these patients by treating them in hospital when they need it most and managing their condition in the community, when they no longer need to be in an acute hospital setting. This will be better for them and will enable us to see more patients as a result – thus lowering waiting times.”
As part of the two year project to transform stomach and liver services, a new Gastroenterology and Hepatology Day Case Unit was recently opened in City Hospital’s Outpatients department.
Emilie adds: “Until recently we were using bays in the Endoscopy department where people have investigations into their bowel health, which was not ideal for our patients’ therapy, or for the patients recovering from bowel examinations which can sometimes be quite uncomfortable. This new dedicated space for stomach and liver patients will enable us to see and treat people in a more calming, relaxed environment with greater privacy.
About 200 patients will use the City GI Day Case Unit every year, with four dedicated chairs and special wide access for medical equipment and trolleys.
The unit was officially opened by patients Richard Pratt and Stuart Belshaw, who are members of the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Patient and Public Involvement group, and also active members of the GI Direct Project Board.
Stuart says: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of being involved in this project and working with the great team at the Trust. All the patients I’ve spoken to have given really good feedback about the new unit, which is great.”
Richard added: “Having a dedicated area is better for these patients, who sometimes have to visit the hospital month after month. Staff are also finding this a more pleasant environment to work in, as it is bright, airy and more spacious.”
The next phase of the two year project will look at how referrals are managed in the community, streamlining the referral process and linking up appointments, to cut down on the number of times patients need to visit the hospital.
Director of Development at Nottingham Hospitals Charity, Nigel Gregory says: “We are delighted to be able to provide essential funding for this facility and the wider Gastroenterology Hepatology project, which aims to transform care and treatment for this group of patients. This significant investment will have a big impact on people with debilitating stomach and liver conditions and it is rewarding to know our donors have made this possible.”