Health chiefs were celebrating today after Sheffield Teaching Hospitals was named as Hospital Trust of the Year. The Trust, which runs the Hallamshire, Northern General, Weston Park, Charles Clifford Dental and Jessop Wing hospitals, was named best in the UK in 10 categories including patient care and infection control by the Dr Foster Good Hospital Guide.
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GRANDFATHER Malcolm Ledger is full of praise for the team of medics who spent 30 hours operating to save his life.
Malcolm, from Meersbrook, Sheffield, needed the complex operation after being diagnosed with an apple-sized tumour behind his nose and in his salivary glands.
Without surgery to remove his left eye, nose and upper part of his jaw, the 62-year-old would only have had four years left to live.
The former steelworker’s cancer was discovered when he was referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist after suffering a persistent runny nose.
Malcolm was given the devastating news he needed extensive surgery to survive and agreed to go ahead because it was his only hope of seeing his three grandchildren grow up.
“When I was told it was cancer it was a big shock, I was almost on the floor,” said Malcolm, who had no other symptoms from the slow-growing cancer.
“I had no choice but to go ahead as I wanted to be here. They have been brilliant. As long as I can see my grandchildren grow up then I’m happy.”
He spent 30 hours on the operating table at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, being treated by four different surgeons and teams of other healthcare professionals who successfully removed the rare cancer – adenoid cystic carcinoma – and reconstructed his face.
His treatment was possible as Sheffield is one of only a handful of places in the UK offering surgery by a team of ‘skull’ experts.
The specialist doctors with expertise in maxillofacial surgery, neurosurgery, ENT – ear, nose and throat – and plastic surgery, work together to tackle complex cases at the Charles Clifford Dental, Royal Hallamshire and Northern General hospitals.
Malcolm was only the third person to have the operation in Sheffield and experts say his case has been the most challenging so far.
Afshin Yousefpour, consultant maxillofacial surgeon at Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, said: “For this kind of cancer until a few years ago nothing could be done surgically. This is all about team working.”
As Malcolm’s eye, nose and part of the jaw had been removed he needed extensive reconstructive surgery.
A flap of bone from his skull was used to create a new nose and skin was taken from his forearm. Muscle from his stomach were used to rebuild his face.
Surgeons used intricate micro-surgery to stitch a blood supply to the new muscles and skin to keep the tissues alive.
After his operation Malcolm spent a month in hospital, including a fortnight in a medically induced coma, to give his head time to heal from the trauma of the operation.
The dad-of two is adjusting to the loss of his eye but is determined to remain upbeat and has the support of his family and friends. He has already managed to get back to doing DIY and cannot praise staff too highly
“I am not bothered about my appearance,” said Malcolm who will in time be fitted with a prosthetic eye. “People have stared but you have to be strong and not worry. I was told at the start to be positive and I’m staying that way.”
He added: “My surgery was very specialised but I saw the same compassion and level of professionalism shown to patients simply coming to clinic for check-ups. From the receptionists, to the surgeons, nurses and cleaners, the staff at Sheffield Hospitals are very special.”
His successful treatment is just one example of the specialist skills in Sheffield make a difference to people’s lives.
Each year the Trust’s medical teams treat more than a million patients for a whole range of problems – such as heart disease, osteoporosis, hip operations kidney dialysis and eye disease.
To win the award the hospital had to demonstrate it had achieved a range of clinical standards and show that patients were satisfied with their treatment
Tim Kelsey, chair of the executive board, Dr Foster Intelligence, said: “Congratulations to all the staff at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust.
“The Trust shows everything that is good in the NHS today from effective and pioneering treatments, to excellent interaction with patients.”
Father-of-six Neil Yeardley, aged 46, is impressed with the care he’s received since suffering a stroke. He had to relearn basic skills in the Hallamshire Hospital such as how to feed himself, get washed and dressed after suffering a bleed on his brain.
He’s back home in Gleadless after 12 weeks, where he receives support in the community to aid his recovery.
“My blood pressure was sky high but I didn’t realise it,” said Neil. “I’d had no warning signs – except for feeling tired in the weeks before. It happened on a Saturday morning.
“I woke up in the morning, my right hand was tingling and I felt it in my foot. I got up but my arm and my leg were getting worst. My wife Jacqueline realised something was wrong and she dialled the doctor and took me to the Hallamshire Hospital. By the time we got there I was struggling to walk. I was hobbling.”
In hospital he had tests and scans which revealed he had suffered a stroke which happens when the brain is temporary starved of oxygen because of a bleed or blockage in a blood vessel. High blood pressure is a strong risk factor for a stroke.
Neil, an asbestos stripper was doing a physical job, and would walk three miles to and from work, so never expected this to happen to him.
But he is getting over the stroke and said: “I’ve had excellent care. The physios in hospital helped me built up my strength. It’s a slow process I’m walking around again, I’m getting stronger.”
- More than a million people are treated in Sheffield’s adult hospitals each year.
- The hospital has an annual budget of 690 million.
- As many as 7,500 babies are born at the Jessop Wing which is the city’s maternity unit.
- To be shortlisted for the award Sheffield Teaching Hospitals had to demonstrate:
- More than 60 per cent of stroke patients received a CT scan within 24 hours.
- More than 50 per cent of patients with a fractured hip were operated on within 48 hours.
- Patients were satisfied with their treatment and the hospitals did not breach the 18 week waiting limit.
- The average length of stay for hip and knee replacements was no longer than 10 days.
- Low rates of MRSA and low readmission rates after surgery.
Visit www.drfosterhealth.co.uk to compare and contrast services at NHS and private hospitals.