NEW medical equipment will allow more patients, undergoing surgery to be discharged on the same day, following a cash boost of £42,000.

A pair of 'state-of-the-art' ultrasound scanners, mainly for use on patients undergoing breast removal and other surgery, has been provided to the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, following investment from an independent charity.

The equipment, which is expected to significantly reduce levels of discomfort, through a local anaesthetic technique known as nerve blocking, will also speed up recovery times and allow more patients to leave hospital on the same day.

Consultant anaesthetists at the South Tees NHS Foundation Trust, Richard Muzawazi, said: "The staff are delighted that the Friarage has now got these two ultrasound machines which can be used for guided nerve blocking, reducing risk of sickness and pain after surgery – allowing most patients to be discharged home on the same day.

“Nerve blocking also allows patients considered not fit for general anaesthesia to have their operations done under nerve block alone.

“The combined impact of all this is that ward nursing staff can concentrate more on the patients who are critically ill, as their overall workload is reduced.

"This happens as patients experience fewer side effects from anaesthesia and are more often pain free.”

The NHS claims the scanners will improve overall patient experience, while reducing the number of patients that require a stay in hospital overnight.

Official NHS guidelines state that patients undergoing mastectomies tend to remain in hospital until the following day, while they say it can take up to six weeks to recover from the operation.

Senior operating departmental practitioner, Julie Clark, said: “The ultrasound nerve blocking procedure means women undergoing a mastectomy will be in less pain when awakening with less analgesia, pain relief, necessary –significantly reducing grogginess and nausea.”

The equipment can be used with either a local anaesthetic, which numbs a patch of body while the patient remains awake, or in combination with a general anaesthetic, which puts the patient to sleep but takes much longer to recover from.

Although, it is believed the scanners will be mainly used to help with the mastectomies while under local anaesthetic.

The registered charity, Friends of the Friarage, provided around £42,000 in funding for the purchase of the new medical equipment.

Donna Jermyn, chairman of Friends of the Friarage, said: “The Friends have been helping the Friarage Hospital for over 60 years and this is another example of where our involvement can assist in the provision of quality healthcare services for the benefit of the local community.”