10/02/2021 | Press releases

Successful orthopaedic surgery training project set to expand

An innovative project which has seen nursing staff at Ipswich Hospital receive advanced training so that they can take on duties traditionally allocated to junior doctors is being expanded to further improve the care which trauma and orthopaedic (T&O) patients receive.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs the Heath Road hospital, has been awarded £110,000 from Health Education England to develop its extended surgical team in the T&O department.

The money will be used to recruit two advanced care practitioners (non-doctors) who have received training in areas such as prescribing and advanced life support so that they can take on extra responsibilities and operate as part of the junior doctors’ rota. This will free up more time for junior doctors to attend surgical training in clinics and operating theatres.

The new recruits will join existing advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) Nikki Benmore and Tonia Evans, who have been part of the extended surgical team at Ipswich for the past three years.

Mr Tim Brammar, who is a consultant in trauma and orthopaedic surgery based at Ipswich and lead for the project, said: “Our advanced nurse practitioners do a fantastic job and have worked hard to make our extended surgical team a huge success.

“Junior doctors rotate every four months, so using our nursing colleagues in this way is also great news for our patients as it means they receive greater continuity of care. It also means there are fewer gaps on our rota, which gives our doctors the chance to get more rest so that they can focus on their training and continue providing a first-rate service to patients.”

ESNEFT was one of three trusts to receive funding, which has come as part of a national initiative called ‘improving surgical training.’ The success of the scheme at Ipswich will be measured over the next three years, with the results used to influence the models adopted by other hospitals in the future.

Mr Mark Bowditch, also a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Ipswich and the regional head of surgical training in the east of England, said: “Securing this funding is great news for the eastern region and for ESNEFT, and will give us a fantastic opportunity to improve early years surgical training and influence the way care is delivered across the country in the future.

“Mr Brammar, Tonia and Nikki have shown how well this can work and this is recognition that the extended surgical team is the future in improving training and patient care. We are delighted that this funding will allow them to expand it still further and audit the improvements.

“In due course we will explore ways to successfully replicate the model in other surgical specialties and at Colchester and other hospitals in the region, so that even more patients can benefit.”

Nikki said: “This is by far my biggest achievement. Obtaining my MSc in advanced healthcare practice has given me the opportunity to be part of the wonderful trauma and orthopaedics team. As ANPs, we assess, diagnose and provide treatment for our patients as well as offering continuity of care.

“We also provide support to our teams of junior doctors who rotate every four months. I have loved being part of this team for the past three years and I am excited for what the future has to bring.”

Tonia (pictured above) added: “For me, the role is challenging and at the heart of what I believe in – delivering high standards of patient care.

“The role of the ANP gives a different adjunct to the team with the extensive nursing experience we have. It also provides support and teamwork for the junior doctors we work with. It is a valuable and exciting role.”

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