A patient who dreaded her hospital appointments because of the distance she had to travel can finally be treated in her home town.
Every week for six years mother-of-two Lynn Chapman, of Carlton Road, Newark, had to endure a round-trip of more than five hours for a five-minute procedure at King’s Mill Hospital, Sutton-in-Ashfield.
Lynn has osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, which is extremely painful and restricts her mobility.
She was originally treated with injections at her GP surgery but when her symptoms became more complicated was told she needed a weekly methotrexate injection.
Handling of the cytotoxic drug is potentially hazardous if proper precautions are not taken so it can only be administered by nurses who receive special training.
Lynn said she had asked if she could have the treatment at Newark but was told there was no one at the hospital qualified to do it.
That has meant that for six years Lynn had to get up at 6am every Friday to give herself enough time to get ready for the journey to the hospital.
An ambulance picked her up after 8.30am and arrived at King’s Mill in time for her 10am appointment.
The injection takes only minutes but Lynn then had to wait for transport back to Newark, often arriving home at about 1pm.
“I used to dread the journey,” said Lynn. “I don’t travel well and I arrived feeling very tired and sick.”
The injection can now be given at Newark Hospital.
'I used to hate Fridays'
Lynn had her first treatment there last week and will go every Tuesday morning.
She lives just few minutes from the hospital and can get there on her mobility scooter.
“I used to hate Fridays and dreaded the appointments,” she said, “But this is great.
“It takes about ten minutes to get there and after my treatment I can be home again within half-an-hour.”
Lynn is treated on Minster Ward, which is used for medical day cases.
The ward sister, Denise Davies, and deputy ward sister Tracey Woodward have had specialist training at King’s Mill and will train the rest of their team members.
“If we make it easier for just one patient to receive treatment more locally to them then it is worth us expanding the service,” said Denise.
“We have worked hard to provide more services from the Minster Ward.
“It can be quite a lengthy process getting all the right procedures and training in place but we are dedicated to providing as many services as possible to benefit our patients.”
'We are expanding our services'
The assistant chief operating officer for Newark Hospital, Mr Ant Rosevear, said nursing roles had evolved in recent years to include more specialist duties previously carried out by doctors or specialist nurses.
As a result, more nurses could carry out specialist procedures after training and, within the last year, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had reviewed its clinical services to look at providing extra treatments across all its hospital sites.
Mr Rosevear said it could take time to introduce new procedures as specialist consultants had to ensure processes on wards and in clinics were within guidelines for certain drugs and medications.
He said a number of procedures had been added to Newark Hospital’s day case unit as part of a strategy to increase the scope of services.
“This is just one example of how we are expanding our services and making things better and easier for the patients of Newark,” said Mr Rosevear.
In the 12 months to May 2017 the day case unit has seen about 800 patients, which is expected to increase further.
“Being able to come to your local hospital for treatments such as this obviously makes a huge difference,” said Mr Rosevear.
“We are pleased we are able to offer this service, which has been made possible by expanding the clinical skills of our nurses through training and development.”