New clinic offers one-stop service for Hartlepool foot and ankle patients
A new one-stop clinic is aiming to help patients get back on their own two feet.
The clinic at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is believed to be the first of its kind in the region.
It means patients with foot and ankle problems can be seen by a wide variety of health professionals in a single hospital visit.
Patients are first assessed by a consultant foot and ankle specialist, who can refer them for an ultrasound scan with a consultant radiologist who can also provide interventions if necessary at the same appointment.
The patient can also be treated by a physiotherapist, orthotics or a podiatrist if needed.
Denise Alderton from Hartlepool was one of the first patients to be treated in the new clinic. She has been suffering with pain in her left foot which has deteriorated over the past few months and led to further discomfort in her calf, hip and lower back.
While visiting orthopaedic outpatients at the University Hospital of North Tees, she was assessed by consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon Rajiv Limaye, alongside a nurse practitioner and healthcare assistant.
She was then offered an ultrasound scan with consultant radiologist Peddada Raju, before being seen again for review with Mr Limaye again.
Mr Limaye said: "The new one-stop clinics are a fantastic development for patients like Denise.
"This service provision will considerably improve the patient journey, get to diagnosis quicker and provide faster treatment pathway. The service will attract more patients in the region and further afield, and I am confident that in the future, our unit will definitely stand out from the others in the region.
"She was able to have a physical assessment and be referred immediately for a scan to investigate the issue further in the same clinic.
"We were able to diagnose the condition and then talk her through it and explain the various treatment options available to her, which included physiotherapy or surgery.
"This is all done in one hospital visit, rather than several separate appointments. It means we can treat the patient more quickly and offer a much better outcome for them.
"It also means we can reduce the inconvenience of a patient having to visit hospital several times, we can reduce patient waiting times and can also free up the availability of staff so that we can treat other patients."
Dr Raju said: "The provision of ultrasound guided injections will considerably reduce the waiting times for patients – they will get immediate treatment wherever possible.
"With the collaboration of the foot and ankle team, we are providing advanced treatment for our patients at the trust."
Denise said: "I’ve been having pains which have been getting worse and starting to have a real effect on my life. I’ve previously been treated by a number of different health professionals at different times over the last few months which has been frustrating.
"The difference here is I have been treated by so many staff in just one visit. The service in this new one stop foot and ankle clinic is very efficient.
"n just one visit to hospital I know what my options are going forward. I’m very impressed."