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Day Surgery Unit at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds celebrates 30 years





Staff at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds have been celebrating 30 years of its Day Surgery Unit (DSU).

The unit at the back of the hospital site opened in April 1994, when day surgery was a relatively new concept.

Dr Nigel Penfold, who was clinical director when the DSU opened, said: “The unit was launched in a very well-planned and holistic manner, which meant we were able to successfully build a culture which our colleagues felt confident to work in, but more importantly, that our patients felt safe to be treated in.”

The Day Surgery Unit team taking a selfie. Picture: WSFT
The Day Surgery Unit team taking a selfie. Picture: WSFT

“We have seen advances in anaesthesia and surgical techniques in the last 30 years which means day surgery is the best option for many more patients than when we started.

“Over the years, we have implemented these quickly, made possible by a long-serving multidisciplinary team with a can-do attitude that work together to continually improve, so more patients can benefit from this surgical model of care.”

Maria Foster-Clarke, senior staff nurse at the DSU who joined in 1994, said: “While there have been innovations in the procedures that are carried out, the DSU is also unique in that we use nurse-led discharge.

Celebrating three decades of the Day Surgery Unit at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: WSFT
Celebrating three decades of the Day Surgery Unit at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: WSFT
L-R: Jemma Morris DSU manager, Dr Nigel Penfold and Maria Foster-Clarke, senior staff nurse. Picture: WSFT
L-R: Jemma Morris DSU manager, Dr Nigel Penfold and Maria Foster-Clarke, senior staff nurse. Picture: WSFT

“This means our nurses can make the call on when a patient is ready to go home so they can get back to where they feel most comfortable more quickly improving their experience.”

The DSU is working to implement awake shoulder surgery – a type of keyhole procedure for checking and repairing the joint.

It is also wants to introduce laminar flow theatres, an air flow system which replaces the air inside the theatre 300 times an hour, so that orthopaedic procedures, including ACL repairs, can be conducted.