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New approach speeds up the process for hip and knee replacements at the Hospital of St Cross

A pioneering new approach at the Hospital of St Cross, Rugby, is enabling hip and knee replacement patients to be cared for even more quickly, safely and efficiently.  

The Rugby Ambulatory Orthopaedic Service (RAOS), supported by the Friends of St Cross, has seen a wide variety of teams and services join forces to further enhance the experience of those needing hip and knee replacement surgery. 

Additional pre-op clinics have been organised in Outpatients to assess patients, undertake blood tests and X-rays, provide information and obtain consent. 

On the day of surgery, hip and knee replacement patients now have access to the Cedar Ambulatory Recovery Unit, located on the Cedar Ward. This contains 10 new trolleys, costing £39,000 and funded by the Friends of St Cross, to easily move patients between the ward, theatres and X-ray. 

As a dedicated area for Orthopaedics, the unit supports patients to be promptly discharged – where it is safe and practical to do so following thorough assessments – instead of remaining in hospital. This helps avoid unplanned and longer than necessary hospital stays and allows patients to recover in the comfort of their own homes.

Two of the first patients to benefit from the RAOS were Coventry residents Nick Payne and David Kell, who required hip replacements. Both were able to return home on the same day, with follow-up calls and appointments booked in to check on their welfare following successful surgeries.

Mr Payne said: “The care and communication I received throughout the day was really good and I was so pleased to be able to go home on the same day. No one wants to be in hospital longer than they have to and it was nice to be able to recover in familiar surroundings. I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to all the staff on Cedar ward and across the hospital who made this possible.”

Mr Kell added: “Everyone I encountered was great – I can’t fault them in any way. I would recommend the service to anyone, I was put instantly at ease and the follow-up care and advice has been fantastic. My hip is getting stronger by the day and this surgery will give me a new lease of life. I would like to thank everyone, including the Friends of St Cross, for making this a reality.”

The RAOS impressed NHS England’s Getting It Right First Time Programme team during the hospital’s recent accreditation as an elective surgical hub in recognition of the high standards of clinical and operational practice it delivers.

Professor Richard King, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, said: “The RAOS represents a major step forward in the way we provide hip and knee replacements and is testament to the dedication and ambition of everyone involved.

“This is brilliant news for us and for our patients and we are hugely thankful for the support from our teams, the Trust and the Friends of St Cross. The feedback has been hugely positive so far and we are confident the service will continue to go from strength to strength.” 

The Friends of St Cross offered their backing to the new service after learning about the difference it will make to patients. In advance of the RAOS being launched, volunteers visited the team on the Cedar Ward to learn more about how a knee replacement is carried out. 

Doug Jones, Chair of The Friends of St Cross, said: “It has been brilliant to see the transformation of the service and for our donation to be used to such great effect.

“The demonstration also gave me a preview of the procedure that I was to have successfully completed and although this happened prior to the implementation of the RAOS I was still back home on the following day all thanks to the superb work of the Theatre, Ward and Physiotherapy teams!"

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