Speedy surgery means patients are on their feet faster

Roy Jones after his knee replacement using the CWERP approach, used by Western Sussex Hospitals HNS Trust
Roy Jones after his knee replacement using the CWERP approach, used by Western Sussex Hospitals HNS Trust

A PAGHAM man is among those to have benefited from radical changes to the way hip and knee replacement surgery is carried out at St Richard’s Hospital.

Teams at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs the hospital – developed the new Chichester and Worthing Enhanced Recovery Programme (CWERP) for planned hip and knee replacements which is helping patients to feel well enough to go home far faster.

It includes several key changes: Joint School, a two-hour session involving anaesthetists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, and specialist nurses; most patients no longer receive a general anaesthetic, but instead have a spinal injection, along with sedation and local anaesthetic; rehabilitation – patients feel so much better after surgery, they can begin to move more quickly.

Architect Roy Jones, 79, underwent a full knee replacement operation on his left leg on Wednesday, November 7.

The surgery lasted just 90 minutes and four hours later, Roy was assessed by a physiotherapist and performed light exercises.

Speaking about the procedure, Roy said: “I was in the recovery area by 11am, I was back on the ward by midday, and by the afternoon I was up!

“The whole process has been very good. The Joint School meant I knew what to expect, I wasn’t frightened, I knew what was going on. Not having a general anaesthetic meant I didn’t feel horrible after the operation, and I was walking within three hours.

“I think it is very important to have a positive attitude – I always planned to be up on my feet on the day of surgery, and I was. It didn’t really hurt, and everything has felt right.”

In the past, patients receiving routine hip and knee surgery normally spent about seven days in hospital. They often suffered side effects following surgery, including feeling sick, which delayed their ability to move as well as their speed of recovery.

With the new approach, the average stay for hip and knee patients has fallen from seven days to four days – that includes a patient who was able to go home the day after his hip replacement operation. CWERP was first used in July and is now in place at St Richard’s, and at Worthing Hospital.

Richard Hill, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the trust, said: “Under the old system, patients were getting a good standard of surgery but would often feel terrible afterwards – that would slow down their recovery and mean that they might spend a pretty miserable week in hospital.

“Now we are seeing a real transformation in the way patients respond.”