Shropshire Star

Satellite spinal clinics mean patients don't face long journeys

Shropshire’s specialist orthopaedic hospital has extended satellite spinal clinics in North Wales to bring care for spinal patients closer to home – alongside The Walton Centre, a specialist neurosciences trust based in Liverpool.

Mr Birender Balain, Consultant Spinal Surgeon at RJAH; Mr David Barlow, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board; Anna White, Advanced Physiotherapy Spinal Practitioner for Clinical Musculoskeletal Assessment and Treatment Service; and Mr Narendra Kumar Rath, Consultant Spinal Surgeon at The Walton Centre.

There are new clinics being provided by the two specialist trusts in several hospitals governed by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board across North Wales.

Mr Birender Balain, Consultant Spinal Surgeon at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, is currently running a clinic at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

He said: “The extension of these clinics, based at locations closer to patients’ homes, is highly beneficial for the patients. This greatly benefits other clinicians as well. A multi-disciplinary approach is most helpful, and this helps the Clinical Musculoskeletal Assessment and Treatment Service team as well by supporting them. Enhanced teaching through interaction helps to make the most effective treatment plans for patients in a timely manner.

“The clinics at Wrexham Maelor have, already in just a few months, helped a closer understanding between different specialities and it is great to see that. This will result in better pathways for patient care and management in the long run.”

Dominic Roberts, 42, from Rhuddlan, near Rhyl, injured his spine in 2008. After searching for a solution privately and through the NHS, Dominic was referred to The Walton Centre, shortly after Mr Narendra Kumar Rath, a Consultant Spinal Surgeon at The Walton Centre, brought a new spinal clinic to Holywell Community Hospital.

He said: “My travel time to the hospital has been reduced from over an hour to 15 minutes. It means less pressure to get there and less anxiety about traffic. My injury means I’m in constant pain; so long journeys in the car can be very uncomfortable.

"Having the new spinal clinics in North Wales means we’ve got some of the best surgeons and clinicians in the country closer to home, which can only improve the quality of support for patients like me.”

The Walton Centre’s Consultant Spinal Surgeon Mr Narendra Kumar Rath psaid: “The aim is always to do what is right for the patient, and in this case, it was enhancing how they access The Walton Centre and its’ spinal services.

“As a part of our Care Close to Home Initiative bringing clinics to some of the more remote regions the hospital serves, which means less travel and more meeting clinicians, which is often a stressful occurrence, in a familiar setting.

“It also provides opportunity to develop an inter-regional network among various specialities and truly serves as a multidisciplinary facet of this service. Having held clinics already, I can say with some confidence that both patients and clinicians are responding positively to having us closer to home."

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