Renal unit and treatment centre among recent changes
AT THE two ends of the timeline for the recent changes at West Cornwall Hospital are the renal unit and the shiny new treatment centre.
While the treatment centre has only just opened, the renal unit was refurbished in March last year.
Sister Carole Gardner runs the unit where people in need of blood dialysis come in three times a week.
She said: "We were the first of the round of changes in March last year and it has dramatically increased our capacity.
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"We were opened in 1996 with five dialysis machines and now we have ten, which builds in capacity for the future.
"And we have an isolation bay now so that we can give dialysis to anyone who has a bug or needs to be kept separate and that means they don't have to go 'up the road'."
Not up the road, but on the other side of the St Clare site, is the swanky new treatment centre.
The custom-built centre has different things happening on different days, to get the most out of the building and the equipment in it.
It is involved in various areas, from endoscopy – essentially sticking cameras into people – and other diagnostic procedures, to varicose vein treatment to pain clinics, where the exact source of pain is identified and then physiotherapists and anaesthetists tackle it at the root.
Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (WARM) treatment sees 50 patients a week assessed and then treated, which can include an injection in the eye, to help stop people going blind.
Adrian Evans, ward manager, said: "We're really building up what's happening here. We knew it would take time for things here to fit in properly.
"Patients have a great experience, it's a nice environment, it's bright and airy and it helps people to be more relaxed.
"I've been here 16 years and I can remember when this was the day case ward.
"Although the public were really concerned about services changing here, we are actually doing a lot more surgery here.
"There has been a principle that any change is bad and we've seen that people will march for the hospital. But we have to be realistic about what we can provide here. It's important to realise there's a lot going on.
"And we're still here. We still get people saying 'don't close this place'.
"In my 16 years I've never heard any suggestion that we were going to. It was purely because services were changing and a lot of that had nothing to do with RCHT – it was nationwide.
"The laparascopic theatre doesn't mean more complex surgery, it means a much better and more efficient way of doing what we do."