A PRIVATE hospital in Wrexham is celebrating after reaching the major milestone of 50,000 operations achieved with a spotless record on infection rates.
Since it first opened in 1988, skilled surgeons at the Spire Yale Hospital have successfully carried out the procedures ranging from hip and knee replacements to bariatric and cosmetic surgery.
And throughout that period it has also managed to achieve a zero rating for both the bloodstream infection MRSA and Clostridium Difficile – C.Diff – which has been once again maintained over the past 12 months.
Visiting Spire Yale to help it mark this achievement, the Welsh Assembly member for North Wales, Aled Roberts, paid tribute to the hospital’s performance and described it as a “major asset” to Wrexham and the whole region.
Hospital Director Sue Jones said: “We’re delighted to have reached a total of 50,000 surgical procedures since we opened 27 years ago.
“This is a real milestone and cause for celebration. It’s also a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our staff past and present.
“In the first year after we opened our records show that we performed less than 1,000 operations but that figure has now more than doubled.
“In the 27 years we’ve been open we’ve seen over 300,000 patients coming to us for consultations and treatment and that number is growing all the time.
“Since the very first operation on November 22, 1988 our surgeons have carried out many thousands of procedures with differing levels of complexity.
“The majority have been orthopaedic operations, such as hip and knee replacement and spinal surgery as well as surgery on feet, ankles, shoulders and hands.
“Apart from orthopaedics, we have carried out lots of cataract surgery on patients’ eyes and also many gall bladder removals, hernia repairs and operations to correct varicose veins, along with a significant number of gynaecological procedures.
“Abdominal surgery has also accounted for quite a number of our operations.”
Sue said that over the years there had also been increasing demand for cosmetic surgery and weight loss surgery in which Spire Yale specialises.
“We now carry out a large number of cosmetic procedures, ranging from breast augmentation and reductions to facelifts and that number is also on the increase, whilst our weight loss surgery provides gastric band, gastric bypass and gastric sleeve procedures” she explained.
Since 1988 a whole range of talented surgeons of various specialities have operated at Spire Yale and over the past three decades the hospital’s pool of surgeons – all of whom also work in the NHS – has grown from an original figure of 30 to 40 to more than 100 today.
In the early days the surgeons came only from the nearby Wrexham Maelor NHS hospital but these days they also work at Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan and Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor.
After opening with just one, Spire Yale decided to add a second operating theatre in 2007 to help cope with increasing demand and both have the very latest in equipment, according to Sue Jones.
She said: “The equipment in both our theatres is regularly reviewed and updated and upgraded and have their own provision in our annual capital budget.
“Apart from ensuring we always have the latest technology to assistant our surgeons and anaesthetists, we also put major effort into ensuring we are winning the crucial battle against infections such as MRSA and C.Difficile.
“It’s a huge tribute to the hard work and vigilance of our staff that over the past 27 we have consistently maintained a zero rate for these infections, and that’s again been the case over the past 12 months.”
Keeping the bugs at bay is the specific responsibility of Spire Yale’s Hospital Matron, Linda Jones.
She said: “I’ve been in my current post for the past three years but for some time before that I was an infection prevention nurse, so I have a special interest in seeing that we keep our enviable record on combatting MRSA and C.Difficile in this hospital.
“We have constantly had a zero rating for both these infections and we’ve maintained that over the past 12 months.
“We’re very proud of our record which is down to the outstanding efforts of all our staff, not just those on the nursing side.
“We take universal standard precautions for controlling infection but everyone puts lots of extra effort into ensuring our zero record stays intact.
“I think our zero record is also very reassuring for out patients.”
After being given a guided tour of its operating theatres, North Wales regional AM Aled Roberts, a Liberal Democrat member, said: “This is the latest of a number of visits I’ve made to the hospital and it’s good to see that its good work is continuing.
“Once again I have been told about its infection control regime, which is very effective, against both MRSA and C.Difficile.
“It was interesting to see in the theatre that they had a full list, which started with orthopaedic cases and went on to gynaecology and ophthalmology.
“The hospital is major asset as far as the community in Wrexham in particular and North East Wales in general is concerned.
“The hospital is rightly very proud of the 50,000 operations performed there since it opened and it’s important that with increasing waiting lists in the NHS this kind of provision is available locally.”
With the 50,000 operations milestone now comfortably passed, Hospital Director Sue Jones said Spire Yale is anticipating ongoing strong demand for its surgical excellence.
“We’ve seen a phenomenal growth in the number of procedures we carry out over the past 27 years and we’re planning for further growth in the future,” she said.