Children's surgery boost for Doncaster hospital

Doncaster Royal Infirmary
Doncaster Royal Infirmary

Child surgery at Doncaster Royal Infirmary could improve under newly approved regional health plans, say bosses.

Officials have approved proposals which will see Doncaster Royal Infirmary become one of only three hospitals in the region to perform important surgery requiring a general anesthetic at night, at weekends, or if it will need to stay in hospital overnight.

It will be for youngsters requiring general surgery, eye surgery, mouth surgery, or surgery on the bones, muscles, nerves or groin area. Only a small number of cases are expected to be affected.

Doncaster will be one of three hospitals which will carry out the operations in future in its health region, along with Pinderfields General Hospital, Wakefield, and Sheffield Children's Hospital.

The plans mean that type of surgery will no longer be carried out at night in Chesterfield, Rotherham or Barnsley.

Bosses at the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups meeting, who approved the changes, believe Doncaster will benefit from its surgeons gaining greater expertise from carrying out more operations, even though the numbers are expected to be small, with 'best case case scenario' forecasts estimated around 11 cases a year, and worst case scenario forecasts at 29.5.

Des Breen, medical director for the Working Together Partnership, said: "The changes are for the few children who present out of hours maybe with broken limbs, ear nose and throat problems, or perhaps an appendicitis. A few may present out of hours when they cannot be done at a local hospital. Doncaster will become one of three hospitals which deal with that group.

"It may mean just a couple of extra children a month in Doncaster.

"It may have a positive effect as infrequent cases become more frequent at hubs like Doncaster, as there would be more clinical and anesthetic expertise from seeing more of these cases."

The issue is arising because of a lack of night cover in some hospitals in terms of anesthetists with expertise in working with children.

David Crichton, the Bentley GP who is chairman of Doncaster NHS Clinical Commissioning group, said out of hours surgery would remain the same in Doncaster.

He said: "One of the things that has come out of consultation is is that hopefully the provision even in day time will improve. We think this is positive. In the long term Doncaster will be better as a result of this."

He said the relatively small number of people who would be coming from other areas for treatment should not have any adverse impact on the treatment of those living in and around the borough.

But Doug Wright, of Doncaster Save Our NHS, said he was concerned where the £100,000 cost of the changes would come from.

The changes are expected to start taking place from January 2018.