There has been lots of speculation – and general anxiety – among patients and the wider public that the Friarage Hospital will close but exciting things are happening all the time here!
Our latest is the opening of the simulation suite by cricketing legend Sir Ian Botham, with support from Friends of the Friarage who have paid for some state-of-the-art equipment to train our future doctors and nurses.
The truth is the Friarage is a vital part of our trust, and working with GPs – and staff across both acute hospital sites – we have been able to bring in many new skills and services in recent years, which offer more locally delivered care for many people.
We thought it might be useful to share some of these developments with you:
Caring for heart patients
Two cardiologists – Dr Richard Graham and Dr Andy Turley – are based at the Friarage while another consultant from James Cook runs a once weekly clinic there. All clinicians and many Friarage cardiology staff work across sites so there are excellent links between the two hospitals.
There are five consultant outpatient clinics a week, in addition to weekly pacemaker clinics (run by cardiac physiologists), two rapid access chest pain clinic (run by a specialist nurse), a heart failure clinic (community specialist heart failure nurse) and a fortnightly arrhythmia clinic (run by specialist cardiac rhythm management nurses).
The latter two are new developments over the last year to improve patient access to cardiology care. Since October 2011, an open access echocardiography service – allowing primary care clinicians to access echocardiography directly – has been up and running with more than 200 patients using this service.
Acute oncology service for cancer patients
As well as a clinical oncologist being on site every week so many cancer treatments can be provided locally, an ‘outreach’ acute oncology service is run by a senior nurse – Monday to Friday – who can ensure all cancer patients admitted to the hospital get an expert opinion without delay.
In ophthalmology, all the sub-specialist services provided at James Cook are now also here, including cataract surgery for the elderly (previously only done in Middlesbrough or Darlington), a retinal screening service and specialist services for children.
Ear, nose and throat services
ENT surgeons now provide not only general outpatient services but specialist children’s clinics and paediatric audiology services at the Friarage.
Endo–urologists (consultants providing treatment for kidney and bladder stones) have developed a specialist centre which treats North Yorkshire and Teesside patients (and farther afield). The urology team is also developing specialist laser treatments for prostate cancer exclusively at the hospital (thanks to the generous help from the Friends of the Friarage).
Enhanced pain services
The acute pain team now supports consultant-led weekly ward rounds, while the chronic pain team do more procedures to support local availability of the service.
Orthodontics – dental treatment
The Friarage delivers a high proportion of the specialist orthodontic treatment carried out by the trust.
Services for women
A new birth control service providing a non-surgical alternative for women seeking sterilisation.
The Friarage was the first hospital in UK to use an OrthoScan C-arm – a digital X-ray machine – in its operating theatres, providing advanced treatment for orthopaedic patients having surgery.