‘Opt for an op in Sidmouth’

PUBLISHED: 11:55 13 September 2015

Community Theatre Manager Janet Jones is pictured in the operating theatre in the Sidmouth hospital. Ref shs 3535-28-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Community Theatre Manager Janet Jones is pictured in the operating theatre in the Sidmouth hospital. Ref shs 3535-28-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Archant

A Sidmouth grandmother, who began her nursing career at the town’s Victoria hospital, is on a mission to raise awareness of the facility’s state-of-the-art operating theatre.

Janet Jones’s varied career has seen her treat wounded soldiers at a field hospital in Iraq as well as help victims of the July 7 London bombings.

The Sidmothian has since returned to her home town and, in her current role as day case theatre manager for the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, she is responsible for overseeing the smooth running of operating theatres in hospitals across East Devon.

But despite Sidmouth having modern facilities, the number of patients requesting to have procedures in the town is not as high as it could be – something that Janet is hoping to change.

She said: “My main aim is to make people aware of our operating theatre in Sidmouth, and hopefully if they are due to have an operation, they ask if they can have it take place here.”

In 2014/15, a total of 986 procedures were carried out at Sidmouth Victoria Hospital.

“We have got the facilities to almost double that,” said Janet.

A range of operations can be carried out at the town’s hospital, including hernia treatment, urology procedures and even keyhole surgery for knees and shoulders.

When people are told they may need surgery, they are referred to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital for an outpatient appointment to discuss the procedure with their surgeon. It is at that point people can ask if it can take place in Sidmouth.

Janet said that patients who request to have their operation carried out in Sidmouth could expect to have the same operation, performed by the same surgeons from the RD and E - only much closer to home. She added that because the facility at Sidmouth is much smaller, the staffing ratios are much higher than those in Exeter – with more nurses to look after a smaller number of patients.

The operating theatre at the hospital was completely rebuilt in 1990, thanks to community donations totalling £375,000. The hospital’s comforts fund, which has since gone on to fund a multi-million pound renovation of the hospital, helped pay for the new theatre, anaesthetic room, two surgical wards, nurses’ station, and maternity suite.


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