Surgeon defends standard of equipment

A SURGEON has spoken out to reassure patients that they can expect an excellent standard of care at Ipswich Hospital.

Mr Michael Crabtree was speaking after the publication of a survey, carried out by the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ALSGBI), which suggested the site was using “obsolete” equipment during keyhole operations.

The hospital was given a bronze rating - the lowest of three grades - by the ALSGBI but Mr Crabtree refuted any suggestion that the equipment he and his colleagues used was out of date or sub-standard or that it patient care had been compromised.

Mr Crabtree, 39, who has been at Ipswich Hospital for two years, said: “We were every worried that was the implication of the report. They are rating hospitals gold, silver or bronze, and to the casual observer they might believe that the quality of patient care you get (relates to those ratings) - and it’s fundamentally incorrect.

“People coming to Ipswich Hospital should be really sure that the laproscopic equipment we use is very high quality. Our results are excellent and I have had our colleagues in neurology saying the same thing.”

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Laparoscopic surgery is used for almost all gastrointestinal and abdominal operations, bringing patients the benefits of smaller scars, less pain and rapid recovery.

Mr Crabtree said that in the last two years the hospital’s team had performed more than 120 major laparoscopic colorectal resections with an excellent success rate and questioned the motivation behind the survey.

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He added: “Laparoscopic surgery at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust is performed using modern high quality equipment that has the confidence of the surgical staff.

“The hospital’s laparoscopic colorectal service is expanding and its results are delivering benefit for patients - less pain, faster recovery, fewer scars.”

When the report was published, past president of ALSGBI, Mr Mike Parker, said the view from the original laparoscopic cameras was like “squinting through a goldfish bowl” and, in comparison, HD equipment had revolutionised practice.

He said: “It is unbelievable that some surgeons are still having to use equipment which limits the operations they can perform safely.

“We hope the result of this audit encourages surgeons and management to discuss upgrading their equipment to improve standards and to reassure patients that the best service is being provided.”

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