A NEW rapid access clinic is set to benefit women needing gynaecological treatment.
The service at Chester-le-Street Community Hospital (CSCH) includes an outpatient clinic, which gives women greater choice about where they are treated, and enables them to undergo a range of procedures within a “one stop shop”.
Although patients can also be seen at the University Hospital of North Durham (UHND), it does not have the same diagnostic and treatment facilities provided at CSCH.
Carole Fletcher, a matron with County Durham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Some procedures, such as hysteroscopies, which are used to identify abnormalities in the uterus, some sterilisations and ablations, do not need to be done in an operating theatre and can be done in an outpatient setting, which is how many women prefer to be treated.
“The trust wanted to ensure there was equity in its services, so regardless of where patients lived, they had access to the same gynaecological services available elsewhere in the region. As a result, a new facility has been developed at CSCH.”
The clinic is open four days a week, with plans to open five days in the future, and has a “streamlined service”, enabling women to be seen quickly.
Patient Maureen Ward is recovering at home in Ushaw Moor following her hysterectomy.
After an initial appointment with her GP, the 65-year-old retired nurse was seen three days later by a consultant, who then referred her to oncology at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead. The procedure was carried out at UHND.
“It’s obviously quite a big operation,” she said. “But it’s gone very well and I had a very positive experience.”