COUNTY Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust is providing a
new rapid access clinic for women requiring gynaecological
consultations, diagnostics and treatments as part of its work to
improve patient services.
The service available at Chester-le-Street Community
Hospital (CSCH) provides gynaecological patients with a new
outpatient clinic, which gives women more choice in terms of where
they are treated, as well as improving services by enabling them to
be seen for a variety of issues or procedures, within a 'one stop
Gynaecological and colposcopy services are available at
the Trust's other hospitals, including Bishop Auckland (BAH), where
a similar rapid access clinic operates. Although patients can also
be seen at the University Hospital of North Durham (UHND),
Darlington Memorial Hospital (DMH) and Shotley Bridge Community
Hospital, these do not have the outpatient diagnostic and treatment
facilities provided at both CSCH and BAH and as a result, many
procedures are carried out within theatre.
Carole Fletcher, the Trust's matron / service lead for
gynaecologcial services, explained that 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 Chester-le-Street
The one-stop, rapid access gynaecological clinic is now
open four days a week, with plans in place for it to open five days
in the future. It has streamlined services, enabling women to be
seen quickly at the new clinic, where all of their gynaecological
health needs can be addressed in one appointment.
Maureen Ward, 65, from Ushaw Moor, is one patient very
pleased with the service and treatment she received at the new
clinic at Chester-le-Street Community Hospital.
After an initial appointment with her GP she was seen just
three days later by a consultant at the new clinic, who then
referred her to oncology at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in
"I couldn't have had a better experience," she said. "I
was seen so quickly at the clinic and it's a lovely new building,
the facilities are very good and the medical staff, nurses,
everyone was very, very good. They arranged all my scans and X-rays
and things ready for my referral to QE."
Mrs Ward, who is a retired nurse, required a full
hysterectomy, which was carried out at UHND. She is now recovering
from the operation at home. She said, "They say it'll be three
months for a full recovery. It's obviously quite a big operation,
but it's gone very well and I had a very positive experience."
Carole Fletcher added, "That's what the new clinic is
about. We want to provide the best services for patients, close to
home, so they are seen quickly and easily and have the best
possible experience and outcomes for their health."
Nurse Ann Reed has completed her training to become the
first gynae nurse hysteroscopist within the Trust; she has also
completed her training as nurse colposcopist, together with Janet
Butcher. Both nurses will undertake their own clinics within the
Trust complimenting the existing diagnostic / colposcopy team.
County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust is
one of the largest integrated care providers in England, serving a
population of around 600,000 people across County Durham,
Darlington, North Yorkshire, the Tees Valley and South
Tyneside. The Trust brings together hospital, community
services and health and wellbeing services to provide high quality
and seamless care for patients.
'I cannot commend the clinic enough. It is marvellous we
have this service at all and well done to you all.'
Patient, Coronary Heart Disease / Heart Failure Service, Shotley
Bridge Community Hospital