More than 80 Isle of Man residents have benefitted from the arrival of specialist surgical equipment at Noble’s Hospital, provided by the Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare Trust.
Previously, patients awaiting certain types of joint surgery, especially complex hip and knee operations, would have been transferred to the UK for treatment. Following an approach from Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Ross Barker, the Trust agreed to fund a special set of tools to allow surgery to be conducted in the Island.
For patients and their families, that has reduced the inconvenience and complications of going off-Island for treatment, as well as the associated costs for them and the NHS. So far records show more than 80 people have undergone surgery in the Island who would previously have been sent to the UK for treatment.
Mr Barker said: “The equipment provided by the Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare Trust has enabled complex hip and knee replacement to be performed in the Isle of Man for the first time. In addition, revision surgery, where a worn out or failing joint replacement is exchanged for a new one, is also now regularly performed here.”
“These two large groups of patients, and of course their relatives, no longer have to travel to the UK for any phase of their treatment.”
“The equipment has allowed the creation of a new service in the Island benefiting many of our residents, there is rarely a week goes by that some of the equipment isn’t used at least once. It is difficult to get across in words how grateful my patients are for the kindness of the Trust in supporting this purchase.”
Provision of the new specialist tool set allows a range of joint replacement surgery including inserting ceramic bearing hip replacements for younger arthritis sufferers, removing worn out or failing hip and knee replacements and re-inserting special revision components, performing complex hip replacements for more difficult problems affecting the hip (for example protrusion, where the head of the thigh bone burrows its way into the pelvis) and in more complicated patients, such as those with learning difficulties.
The tools have also allowed surgeons to convert patients from hemiarthroplasty (the replacement of one side of the hip frequently done for hip fracture) to total hip replacement, perform partial knee replacements, typically required in younger more active people with arthritis of the knee affecting only part of their joint, and treat fractures around hip and knee replacements, which can involve removing the existing replacement in some cases.
Mr Barker added: “All these cases were either not done previously or referred to the UK with obvious implications for patients and relatives both around the time of surgery and during the follow up period.”
“Thanks to the support of the Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare Trust, patients can now be treated here which has had huge benefits to the patients, their families and the service itself.”
One patient who has benefited from hip replacement surgery in the Island with the new equipment described his care as ‘wonderful and first class’.
The 73-year-old previously would have faced a journey to the UK for surgery, but instead underwent his hip replacement at Noble’s.
He explained: “The big thing for me, apart from Mr Barker who is a true professional, was that I stayed in the Isle of Man. I had heart surgery a little while ago and had to go to Liverpool for that. Fortunately, I was brought back by air ambulance. Following hip surgery I would have had to find my way back on an ordinary plane, and I don’t think I could have coped.”
“I have spoken to people who have had surgery in England, and they say coming home afterwards has been horrendous. I had my surgery and was able to go home, comfortably, after just three days.”
“You also are near to home and your family, so they don’t have the extra expense of travelling to ensure you aren’t alone. It is very stressful not to have your family nearby.”
He added: “I couldn’t have asked for better. I had got to the point where I was almost housebound, but now I am back to where I was before. I feel like a new man, walking perfectly straight and with no limp, and without the problems of having to go away for surgery.
“The more people can stay in the Island for surgery, the better it is for them, their families and their recovery. This is a very worthwhile investment, and the Trust has to be thanked.”
Trust Chairman Larry Keenan said: “The Trust’s mission is to help improve healthcare in the Island, not just in terms of treatment, but in relation to all aspects of care. The case made by Mr Barker for these specialist tools met our criteria precisely.”
“It is inconvenient and, for some, traumatic, to be sent away from home for surgery, either being forced to be away from family or knowing your family are having to meet additional expenses to be with you. Transferring patients for treatment in the UK does, of course, also have cost implications for the Island’s NHS.”
“On behalf of the Trust, I am delighted to hear more than 80 patients have already been treated and look forward to hearing about many more cases in the years to come.”
The Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare Trust funds equipment, training, research, education and health promotion to help improve the standard of healthcare in the Isle of Man and the quality of life for sick, infirm and disabled people in hospital, care-settings or their own homes. It was established in 1888 by renowned Island benefactor Henry Bloom Noble with the ambition of improving the quality of healthcare in the Island.