Ulster Hospital’s new surgical ambulatory hub is praised by patients as it celebrates its sixth month anniversary

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The Ulster Hospital’s new General Surgery Ambulatory Hub, which opened in January and is able to investigate and treat patients away from the Emergency Department, has proved to be a hit with patients.

Ulster Hospital General Surgery Registrar Jess Lockhart explained that the Hub: “is a way for us to investigate, diagnose and treat people without admitting them to hospital.”

She continued: “Since January, we have been able to see up to 20 patients a week and patients, when here, do prefer the Hub setting.

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"We have designed the Hub in a way that is sustainable and we are getting a steady stream of patients through.”

Ulster Hospital General Surgery Consultant Jess Lockhart, Consultant Surgeon Ian McCallister, Ulster Hospital Clinical Surgical Specialities Manager Julie McClughan, Advance Nurse Practitioner Karen Boudou and Ward Clerk Victoria McAleese. Pic credit: SEHSCTUlster Hospital General Surgery Consultant Jess Lockhart, Consultant Surgeon Ian McCallister, Ulster Hospital Clinical Surgical Specialities Manager Julie McClughan, Advance Nurse Practitioner Karen Boudou and Ward Clerk Victoria McAleese. Pic credit: SEHSCT
Ulster Hospital General Surgery Consultant Jess Lockhart, Consultant Surgeon Ian McCallister, Ulster Hospital Clinical Surgical Specialities Manager Julie McClughan, Advance Nurse Practitioner Karen Boudou and Ward Clerk Victoria McAleese. Pic credit: SEHSCT

The Ulster Hospital Clinical Surgical Specialities Manager Julie McClughan explained: “The patient will present to the ED and during their initial assessment, the Doctor may find that the patient can be treated in the Hub.

"There is a criteria around that, you have to meet certain guidelines and be relatively well to attend.

“The team will then arrange an appointment which can involve scans, blood tests and ultimately the decision on how to treat the patient.”

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Julie added that the feedback the team has received has been, “really positive.”

She continued: “The Hub is really a product of the Multi-Disciplinary Team, it has been a real team effort by all to get the Hub up and running. Ambulatory care has its place in the system but it won’t replace the ED or a GP service, it’s a different pathway for treatment and we are really proud to have opened our surgical Hub.”

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Advance Nurse Practitioner Karen Boudou commented that patients are finding the Hub a “supportive service” as it marks six months in operation.

“Our referrals are patients who have attended the ED and who need prompt investigations and we are also trying to reduce the length of stay by using the Hub as a support network.

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“I enjoy having that time with the patients as my background was as a Ward Sister and it’s really nice to be one on one with the patients again.

“Our patients are getting the investigations they require without being in a hospital bed, which is something they prefer and of course is beneficial.”