Elective surgery has finally re-opened as life returns to normal

With things finally returning to a more normal routine, I have been keeping myself busy by doing a number of extra NHS operating lists to help with the backlog. Usually, each consultant in East Kent is given two operating lists a week but I have been performing between 3 and 5 lists a week for the last month to help with increasing demand as lockdown ends. The routine waiting lists are still very long which is beginning to generate increasing scrutiny in the national press.

Clinics have been on-going at the One Ashford Hospital and the team are fully COVID safe. The clinic has been running very smoothly and I’m please to have my first private operating list there at the beginning of May. I know all the theatre team well from my regular operating in the theatres from the first COVID surge when we moved most of our regular lists into the private sector.

Once again, we had our monthly audit and are looking into re-organising the Head & Neck cancer clinic by improving the patient pathways to help reduce the number of patients attending the clinic. We are also considering a new treatment for atrophic and vasomotor rhinitis which involves freezing an area in the nose under local anaesthetic to disrupt the nerves which cause excessive nasal discharge. It looks promising but it is expensive.

I presented at the Thyroid Tumour Site Specific Group, encouraging all Consultants within the region to participate in the British Association of Endocrine & Thyroid Surgeons (BAETS) National Database so we can collect and present our thyroid and parathyroid surgery data each year – which is a requirement of all audits. Every surgeon in the region except those in one Trust are auditing and monitoring their outcomes.  We have agreed to wait until further National Guidelines are released (hopefully by the end of the year) but I would recommend that patients who have thyroid disease see surgeons who are actively participating in peer review processes; and if a patient proceeds to thyroid surgery, they see a Consultant who is contributing to the BAETS database.