Berwick patients benefit from plastic surgery service

More people in the Berwick area requiring plastic surgery for minor procedures are now able to receive their treatment closer to home.

Thursday, 17th November 2016, 11:47 am
Consultant plastic surgeon Mr Neil McLean pictured in the day surgery unit at Berwick Infirmary, where he carries out minor procedures with colleagues (left to right) Tracey McCann, Lisa Porteous and Angela Bruce.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust first introduced a plastics service in Berwick three years ago and since then has seen more and more people benefit from the service, with more than 300 appointments and procedures taking place in the past year.

Consultant plastic surgeon Neil McLean visits Berwick Infirmary twice a month to hold outpatient clinics for patients who have been referred by their GP for specialist care for the treatment of skin cancer, removal of moles or cysts or minor hand surgery.

With the support of the surgical team in Berwick, Mr McLean is also able to carry out minor procedures in the day surgery unit at Berwick Infirmary under local anaesthetic, enabling the majority of patients to have all of their care locally and without the need to travel far for treatment.

Husband and wife Bruce and Jessie Dodds, from Berwick, are two patients who have benefited from the service in Berwick. The pair both had cancerous spots removed just weeks apart after being referred to Mr McLean from their GP.

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Bruce, 78, said: “We were surprised, and very relieved, to be able to have our procedures in Berwick.

“While I do drive, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable driving after the surgery so it was much more convenient for us to have the procedure at the infirmary, just a few minutes from our home, rather than further afield. It all went well and we couldn’t complain about anything.”

Mr McLean, a plastic surgeon for 35 years, said: “Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK and is highly prevalent, due to their exposure to the sun, among older people who have worked outside in agriculture and other industries.

“Like rural communities up and down the country, demand for the service is increasing in the Berwick area with many patients in need of treatment. Given our commitment to provide as much care as close to people’s homes as we can, it makes absolute sense for us to run this service in the town.

“From the initial outpatient appointment to day surgery and after-care, we’re able to deliver all care in Berwick which is great news for patients.”

“We’ve had extremely positive feedback from our patients with them being delighted not only with the quality of the service, but also the fact that they have not had to travel out of the area for their treatment which can be difficult for the elderly population.

“Of course the treatment of skin cancer is just one part of the service offered in Berwick with all parts of our services being well received.”

Plastic surgery is one of more than 40 outpatient clinics which are held at Berwick Infirmary every month, ensuring residents have local access to specialists.

More complex plastic surgery will still be carried out at Wansbeck, North Tyneside or Hexham general hospitals.