Like many other private hospitals, the Rodney Surgical Centre was originally established to serve a need within the community, a need for reliable, immediate, and easy access to surgical services. Previously, residents had to travel an hour either way to access public and private hospitals, a fact which is simply not convenient in today’s busy world. Then, in October 2009, a few local businessmen opened the centre’s doors and filled the void.
Today, the Rodney Surgical Centre has two state-of-the-art operating rooms, which includes an endoscopy room and a procedure room. Furthermore, there are additional specialist consulting rooms, six post anaesthetic care beds, and a second-stage recovery area. As such, the centre offers a wide range of specialist services in many surgical services including orthopaedics, ophthalmology, general surgery, oral maxillofacial surgery skin lesion removal (including melanoma) and gastroenterology. In total, the centre has the services of 20 Surgical Specialists with a lot of flexibility for part-time staff who wish to balance their work and home lives.
Innovating in medicine
Aside from traditional treatments, the centre is also highly innovative in some areas of medicine. Mr. David Crabb, for instance, one of the centre’s plastic surgeons, trained under Dr. Roger K. Khouri who has developed a minimally invasive breast reconstruction procedure called Brava + Autologous Fat Transfer (AFT). The procedure involves wearing the specialized, gel-like Brava bar to expand the skin from the outside and create a so-called breast mound which includes the expansion of tissues, blood vessels, and nerves. After a few weeks, fat is transferred to the area from other parts of the body and the new breasts settle in naturally over the next three months. The breasts look and feel natural even though they only contain the transferred fat and no breast tissue. Fat grafting can be performed without the use of the Brava system for some patients.
Shelley Scott, the centre’s General Manager, has been working with the centre for the past three years. The small centre facilitates an intimate working environment and Shelley handles not only the day-to-day running of the Rodney Surgical Centre but is also involved in marketing, attracting new specialists, and managing the staff. Furthermore, she makes sure that patients who come into the clinic are satisfied with the care they receive.
Expanding the centre’s services
Though the centre was established with day-care services in mind, Shelley assured us that the board’s forward thinking allowed them to future proof the facility for overnight expansions. Over the next few years, they will work toward transforming rooms for overnight stays and allowing the community to have even more options for their surgical treatments.
“Over the next five years, we’ll certainly be looking into expanding the services that we have here for the local community. We are always on the lookout for new specialties and new specialists to work from Rodney Surgical Centre. We would hope, in the next five years, to significantly broaden the number of services available. We certainly will be looking to be a 23-hour unit, having some overnight capacity but still in the day-care standard. Beyond that point, we will look into longer stay services being made available”, comments Shelley about the centre’s five-year plan.
Furthermore, the centre has just started offering treatments for varicose veins in the procedure room where minor surgeries and treatments like skin lesions have already been performed.
Until recently, clinics who did not offer overnight stays were not subject to rigorous audits and regulations, according to Shelley. However, the Surgical Centre has always complied for voluntary auditing to maintain centre standards, both internally and externally. The patients also seem to think of the centre as highly competitive because their feedback is overwhelmingly positive.
A strong emphasis on patient safety and satisfaction
Patients come to the centre through a wide variety of means. The centre receives referrals directly from patients, from GPs, and from specialists. When a specialist’s service is required, such as an endoscopy procedure, they will look at a patient’s specific needs, discuss the possible treatment options, and facilitate them through the procedure. A nurse is tasked with reviewing all the referrals which come to the centre, assessing the safety and needs of each patient. If they deem that the patient has needs beyond the resources of r the centre’s facilities, they ensure that the patient and GP are consulted and then redirect them to a more appropriate environment instead.
Patient safety and satisfaction are very important here. Before being admitted, every patient receives a phone call and is requested to complete forms which allow them to highlight spiritual, cultural, and medical needs. The point is to provide everyone with personalized care, disregarding the feeling of “being processed” and making sure that their stay is as positive as possible. Going into a surgical centre can be a stressful or a downright frightening experience for many and small acts of kindness do wonders to alleviate those feelings.
Of course, the centre also follows up with patients after they have left the facilities: “A follow-up phone call is made to all of our patients a day after their surgical procedure. We run through any issues that they might be having after their discharge or any comments, questions, and queries they might have. We make sure that patients have understood all of their post-op instructions. We also ensure that we give instructions in the presence of the person who’s going to care for them or be their designated driver because we find that after an anaesthetic, people might forget what they might have been told. Verbal instructions are also paired with take home written instructions”, explains Shelley.
Always on the lookout to service the community
To that same end, the Rodney Surgical Centre is also involved in charitable work as an additional means to service the local community. A local trust identifies people who need surgery but either do not qualify for the public waiting list at that point in time or do not have the funds to conduct private treatments. Once such a person has been identified, they can come into the Rodney Surgical Centre with the aid of the trust.
The Centre also contracts with the two District Health Boards it straddles to provide public services for a variety of surgical procedures.
The centre’s innovative treatments, highly trained staff, and insight into the future has allowed it to stay at the forefront of the industry. Servicing the local community is of the utmost importance to both the board and the staff members as they are able to offer medical services to people both in and outside their immediate region. Thankfully, the centre’s goals will only expand in the future.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Rodney Surgical Centre
WHAT: A surgical centre comprised of two operating rooms, a procedure room, and an endoscopy service
WHERE: 77 Morrison Drive, Warkworth, Rodney District, New Zealand