Patients can now have hysterectomies as day cases thanks to a new partnership and a procedure introduced recently at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the uterus. After surgery, pregnancy is no longer possible and menstruation stops. Reasons for this surgery include abnormal bleeding, uterine prolapse, fibroids and cancer.
A quarter of all hysterectomies performed at Walsall so far in 2023 have been day cases, meaning patients undergo the procedure and go home the same day.
Prior to this, patients underwent laparoscopic keyhole surgery for this procedure. Before that, all were done as open hysterectomies, which meant the patient had to stay in hospital for one to three days.
“There has been a real push towards day-case hysterectomies with the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme and the Integrated Care System (ICS) Gynae network,” said Ms Vinita Gurung, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Walsall Healthcare.
“Now we have started the service and since January 2023 we have completed 13 out of 51 hysterectomies as day cases, which is 25 per cent.”
After the surgery, the patient goes from recovery to the discharge lounge. Then after four to six hours, they are discharged, provided the surgeon is happy.
“This process makes for a better patient experience – they’re up and about sooner and they can sleep in their own bed. It also helps with theatre utilisation,” added Vinita.
“In terms of recovery, the patients are absolutely fine. I had an 81-year-old patient say to me ‘Have you really done the surgery? I don’t feel any pain.’”
Dee Leighton, 32, a mother of two, recently had a hysterectomy as a day case patient. She said: “I was bleeding for about 20 days a month, I was really tired and I was losing a lot of blood.
“I had my surgery at about 9am and I was discharged before 5pm the same day. The week after the operation, I was helping to rearrange my son’s room. Overall, the recovery was amazing.
“I’d say to anyone ‘go for it’. It’s changed my life so much. I wish I’d have done it sooner.”
Mr Fateh Ghazal, Divisional Director Women’s, Children’s and Clinical Support Services at Walsall Healthcare, added: “Currently, less than 35 per cent of organisations in England offer such a service.
“By developing a surgical hub for day-case hysterectomy at Walsall, all women in the Black Country will be able to receive safe, effective care with high patient satisfaction.
“This initiative will also increase training opportunities and support the NHS Green Plan.”
The service has been developed through the Black Country Provider Collaborative (BCPC), a partnership between Walsall Healthcare, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.
Its primary aim is to reduce patient inequalities by offering services quicker and closer to home, if possible.
Ms Gurung added: “The team is very enthusiastic about the Black Country being at the forefront.
“In terms of collaboration, we hope to operate on three or four patients as day-cases per day. To ensure our collaborators and colleagues aren’t de-skilled, we hope to ‘buddy up’.
“As we do more of these procedures, we’ll be moving to high-volume, low complexity day case hysterectomies where we do ,four in one session.”