Laser technology to blitz kidney stones and a new state-of-the-art heart scanner are the latest additions to services at the Horton General Hospital.
The additions to the Horton have been announced by Oxford University Hospitals Trust and will help reduce the need travel to Oxford for some patients.
The £225,000 kidney stones treatment project - in the hands of the hospital’s urology team - has included laser-proofing the theatre, purchasing new equipment and training staff on the new procedure.
The new service uses precision equipment and a dedicated laser to fragment kidney stones with minimal side-effects. Most patients having stone surgery at the Horton will be home the same day.
From July the service will be treating around six or seven patients a week.
Consultant urologist, Ben Turney, said: “This is a great service at the Horton and a real investment for the hospital.
“Kidney stones are usually extremely unpleasant and painful and by offering these operations at the Horton we can get people operated on more quickly.
“This has been a real team effort - everyone from theatre staff to anaesthetists, procurement and estates staff have worked incredibly hard to get this up and running.
“Our staff had extensive training to learn the new procedures and worked long hours to make sure everything ran smoothly. This has now paid off, and patients have reported excellent levels of care from the staff at the Horton.”
In addition, dialysis patients are now being offered vascular access surgery at the Horton. Operations to rovides access in the veins for dialysis treatment, are now available. Previously patients had been sent to the Churchill Hospital for this procedure.
Around 3,000 cardiac patients are seen at the Horton every year, many for heart scans and cardiac check-ups.
It can be an anxious time as many will be worried about whether they have a heart condition or how a previously diagnosed or treated condition may be progressing.
The Horton General Hospital Charity has funded a major upgrade of the Horton echocardiography equipment by purchasing a state-of-the-art 3D scanner for the team.
This equipment, which cost £96,000, enables quicker and more accurate diagnosis, by providing clearer and more detailed images that help to detect subtle changes which might previously have been missed.
One of the first patients to benefit from the new kit was Philippa Carey, from Banbury.
Philippa said: “I was really dreading coming in today, but the staff have been just fantastic - really putting me at ease. They mentioned they were using a new machine, and it was really reassuring to hear that this is the best of its kind. It was amazing to hear that the charity has funded it and to know just how many local people will benefit. I feel very lucky indeed.”
The equipment is portable and can be taken to wards when needed. It can scan children and babies too.