A HEALTH Trust reached a medical milestone when a patient was sent home within hours of getting a new shoulder.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has improved surgery procedures recently which includes regular use of nerve block anaesthesia, so patients do not need general anaesthetic.

Other changes include setting up a 'shoulder school' to prepare patients for surgery, having a physiotherapist on hand to provide rehabilitation advice straight away and giving patients contact details for consultants and follow up appointments to support their recovery.

The Trust's first full shoulder replacement surgery patient to be treated as a day case operation, Lenora Scott, 76, said: “My shoulder had been causing me a lot of pain for a long time so it’s a relief it’s now sorted.

“When doctors told me it would be possible to have my operation under local anaesthetic and that I would be able to go home the same day I agreed straight away.”

Consultant anaesthetist Dr Austin Mathews said: “Traditionally, this type of surgery is performed under general anaesthetic.

“It means the patient has to stay in hospital for at least a night or two. It also comes with some side effects such as making the patient feel sick and sometimes unable to eat or drink.

“We have a team of enthusiastic anaesthetists who expertly perform nerve blocks on a regular basis, making it possible for us to offer patients a choice of staying awake while they undergo their operation under a nerve block.

“Over the last two years we have been making improvements to the pathway so that we can discharge patients out of hospital the same day.”

Richard Jeavons, who performed Mrs Scott’s surgery, said: “It’s a fantastic system for both the patient and for us. We have a patient who is able to recover more quickly and go back to their own home, while we are able to provide care to other patients in need.”