Patients to benefit from move, say NHS bosses
FOCUSING Bristol's urology services at Southmead Hospital will create a centre of excellence in the city, according to NHS managers.
The proposals would see the centralisation of surgery and inpatient treatment for cancers including prostate, kidney and bladder, at the hospital with outpatient and diagnostic appointments at other sites in the city. It is anticipated that the changes would lead to better outcomes for patients and improve their experience of treatment.
Complex urology cancer surgery for Bristol patients is already based at Southmead Hospital but the changes, which are hoped to be in place by December, will see surgery and day case procedures move over from Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI).
Under the plans outpatient appointments will be held at Cossham, Thornbury, South Bristol Community Hospital, the BRI and Clevedon and Portishead with patients heading to Southmead for most surgery. Some day case work will also be carried out at the BRI and South Bristol.
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Oncology services, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy for patients with cancers affecting the urinary functions and men's reproductive organs, would continue to be carried out at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre.
Evidence from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence suggests that centralising specialist services so that they deal with a higher volume of patients improves outcomes.
It has also been suggested that focusing services on one site will mean there is a single point of referral for patients and that it should mean people get the same experience rather than only being offered the best treatment if they are sent to certain hospitals.
North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT), which runs Southmead Hospital, will take over the management of the whole urology service under the proposals. The trust's board approved the plans at its meeting and it is now awaiting approval by the directors of the other parties and needs to be considered by the local authorities' health scrutiny committees.
The plans would see 18 employees being transferred from the city centre hospital trust to NBT. Staff are being consulted on the move.
Programme manager Rob Gittins said: "This proposal, developed in partnership with key stakeholders, will create a single centre of excellence for urology services which unifies the clinical teams across Bristol to provide routine and specialist services for both the local and wider South West regional population who access care within Bristol."