LANARKSHIRE Acute Hospitals Trust is committed to the improvement of services for patients on an ongoing basis, which essentially means looking at the service provision through the patients' eyes.

To facilitate this, a programme of service redesign has been established, which involves reviewing particular services to improve effectiveness and streamline the patients'

experience of that service.

The new Wishaw General Hospital provides the trust with a real opportunity to deliver care to patients in an exciting modern healthcare environment, the

reality of which is the best of care delivered in the most sensitive way possible.

As part of the planning for Wishaw General, a number of redesign projects were established in readiness for the opening of the facility, and again, all of these target people who are

in potentially vulnerable and emotional situations.

There are new processes in place for women using

maternity services, for patients being admitted as emergencies, for those attending the hospital as day patients for oncology treatment and for women attending the breast clinic.

Wishaw General Hospital now houses the maternity unit for the whole of Lanarkshire.

For antenatal care, women can attend one of four day assessment centres across Lanarkshire and in the main will only come into the maternity unit to deliver their babies.

This new model means women receive the majority of their care locally, but deliver their babies in a modern facility which is equipped and staffed to deal with any complicated or emergency situations.

This is a perfect illustration of the most popular desire of pregnant women - to have a say in their care, which should, as much as possible, be delivered locally, and with the reassurance that superb facilities are close by if needed.

The new emergency care unit at Wishaw General works on

the same principal, in providing a smooth service with the

minimum of fuss or disruption.

Again, with the proviso of looking at everything through the patients' eyes, the unit has been designed to allow patients who might need to be admitted to the hospital to be assessed by a team of senior medical staff, so that a speedy decision can be made about the most appropriate course of action and treatment of the individual concerned.

This is particularly innovative because of the range of staff bringing their skills together in the one unit, where previously there might have been constant referring out of the unit to


These include general and orthopaedic surgeons, physicians, accident and emergency specialists and specially trained nursing and support staff who all play their part.

The oncology day service is another area where the main concern was listening to the patients' views and putting them into operation.

The provision of chemo- therapy for patients locally aims to prevent people who are ill from having to travel to Glasgow for treatment, while recognising that care doesn't stop with

the treatment.

Minimum delays on the day are vital, and receiving oncology locally does help to ensure this. The provision of counselling

services to give support during the illness is vital, and this is available at Wishaw General.

Another key project has been the reorganisation of the breast service, which has been redesigned as a one-stop clinic.

This means patients attending the breast clinic will ultimately be assessed, tested and in

receipt of their test results on the same day.

This project has also ensured that appropriate information and support is available for patients at the clinic.

Service redesign might be a dry and fairly technical term,

but the care offered under its

auspices could not be more human.

Staff development and education will also continue to ensure that the care delivered from the hospitals is of the highest

standards possible.