Borough residents are being helped back on their feet quicker thanks to a new community service.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s consultant podiatric surgeons Keith Gibbard and Simon Fay are treating patients at clinics at local hospitals.
We keep the whole experience as simple and pleasant for patients as possible and try to create an environment which is friendly and relaxed.Keith Gibbard
Patients are referred by community podiatry teams and GPs for conditions ranging from bunions to skin grafts and bone fusions.
Mr Gibbard said: “Using local anaesthetic means we can operate on relatively poorly people who are not well enough for a general anaesthetic, so they can still get the relief they need from painful conditions.
“We keep the whole experience as simple and pleasant for patients as possible and try to create an environment which is friendly and relaxed.
“Surgical patients are typically with us for around half a day. Once we are happy with them they are able to go home, without the need to transfer to a hospital ward.”
Following surgery, patients are seen once a week until the wound has healed, then again at six months to check the procedure has been effective and the patient is happy with the result.
Mr Gibbard added: “I was a community podiatrist before surgical training so I approach things from a community perspective.
“Part of the surgical care plan is making sure people can cope when they are at home. Coming from a community background I understand that completely because I have had first-hand experience from visiting patients in their own homes.”
Mr Gibbard calls all his patients the day after surgery to check there are no complications.
He explained: “I like to speak to them myself to find out how they are getting on.
“As a podiatric surgeon I still maintain the patient contact I had as a community podiatrist.
“It’s all about improving lives. When a patient comes back for review and tells me they are doing great it makes my day. That’s what it’s all about.”