ESAC A new Emergency Surgery Ambulatory Clinic has opened at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, meaning that patients who require urgent surgical treatment can now receive the care they need sooner.

The unit ensures that patients have better access to senior surgical doctors and nurses, reducing the time it takes for them to be assessed and a decision taken on their care and treatment. It is already making a difference, with 126 patients being seen in the unit rather than waiting in the emergency department in the two weeks after it opened.

Patients suitable for the unit are mainly those who may require surgery, but whose conditions can be quickly assessed, allowing a treatment plan to be put in place. This includes patients who potentially have conditions such as appendicitis, gallstones and kidney stones.

Patients can be referred directly by their GP or identified as suitable for the unit when they arrive in the emergency department. Once at the unit, patients are either examined straight away or, if more appropriate, they can return home and go back for investigations or treatment at a suitable time.  

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Basingstoke hospital, as well as Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, and Andover War Memorial Hospital, said: “The aim of the Emergency Surgery Ambulatory Clinic is to give patients access to many of the services available to inpatients, such as assessment by senior medical staff and diagnostic scans, without needing them to be admitted to the wards.

“It has been really successful, helping to make sure that patients do not need to wait in hospital for investigations, either in the emergency department or after being admitted to the wards.

“This was one of the projects that we received winter capital funding to complete, so I would like to say a big thank you to the Department of Health and Social Care for helping to make this a reality. I also want to say a big thank you to the team here who worked together brilliantly to ensure that the clinic was open as soon as possible, helping to make sure that we provide the best possible patient care.”