A RETIRED electrician from Beverley has become the first person in the UK to have his hip replaced as a day patient, after revolutionary technology was manufactured in Yorkshire.
Chris Walker, 71, was back at home just ten hours after the operation at Castle Hill Hospital, Hull, which is trialling fast-track hip and knee replacement surgery.
Usually, hip replacement patients can expect to be in hospital from between three and five days - and with approximately 160,000 hip and knee replacements in England and Wales each year, the new technology has the potential to shorten hospital stays and save precious NHS funds.
The implant was manufactured by Sheffield-based healthcare company JRI Orthopedics, who have also part-funded the provision of tablet computers for the 20 patients taking part in the initial trial.
Mr Walker, who has been recovering at home since the operation last Tuesday, said: “It’s been great. I had a lot of advice and physio support before the operation and afterwards, both in the hospital, and since I’ve been home.
“It’s certainly more relaxed being here than being in a hospital situation and I’m looking forward to being able to walk the dog and get on my bike again.”
Consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon Elizabeth Moulder is coordinating the ‘joint replacement in a day’ project at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
She said: “When hip replacements were first done patients would be in bed for two weeks post-surgery, but there has been increasing awareness that early mobility reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
“So long as we can guarantee they are getting the same care and physiotherapy support in or out of hospital, then people would much rather be at home.”
She added: “We believe it has to be better for the patient.
“They can take pain killers when they feel they need them rather than waiting for a drug round or nurse availability.
“They are less likely to get post-operative infections and our multi-disciplinary hospital-based teams have worked very closely together to ensure we can provide the quality aftercare support for patients.”
Patients selected to take part in the trial are otherwise fit and healthy and will go through intensive pre-op physiotherapy.
Following surgery, specialist physiotherapists help patients to get on their feet and ensure they can safely use walking aids and get up and down stairs.
Alongside physiotherapy, each patient leaves hospital with a tablet computer with dedicated rehabilitation and recovery information. If they have any problems, they can use to speak to their hospital team via Skype.
JRI Orthopedics is owned by the charity Orthopaedic Research UK (ORUK), and donates profits to research into bone and joint disease.
Chief executive Keith Jackson said: “Innovation is at the heart of what we do and we are delighted that JRI is supporting the brilliant surgical team at Hull to deliver a better patient experience and realise significant efficiency improvements for the NHS.”