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Sunday, 19 November 2017
Blyth Theatres Team Photos
Behind the scenes in Blyth Theatres
01 November 2016

Mr Sharma operating in Blyth Theatres at Ipswich HospitalBabies are born…cancers are removed…lives are saved. It all happens in a day at Blyth Theatres.

The hard-working theatre team covers three theatre rooms – one for Caesarean sections, one for gynaecological cancer removals and one for other gynaecology procedures including fertility investigations and hysterectomies. They are open 24/7 for emergencies.

Our hospital is one of the country’s leading gynaecological cancer centres. The team cares for women having procedures ranging from a simple 10-minute investigation of a uterus, to major surgery removing complex tumours which can take more than 12 hours and include specialist teams of plastic surgeons, general surgeons, oncologists, urologists, and gynaecologists.

Every single operation begins with a safety checklist – developed by the World Health Organisation – which is proven to reduce surgery-related deaths and complications. It is similar in its principle to the checklists performed by pilots before take-off.

The Blyth team includes surgeons, anaesthetists, scrub nurses, operating department practitioners (ODPs), theatre assistants and clinical lead Steve Cobbold. The team also works in the hospital's ophthalmic (eye) theatre. Steve said: “The reason we work so well is that we are one team. We haven’t been subdivided into small teams. We are one team working across all the theatre rooms working together and for each other.” The team gets in early to make sure all the theatres are ready and the equipment is lined up for the day’s operations.

Martin Firth, an ODP and team leader said: “Before we start we discuss the day’s list and whether there’s anything we can do to make sure it runs smoothly. For example, making sure diabetic patients are seen early so they don’t go longer than necessary without food. We have a really good team here, not just in how we deliver care to patients but the way we look after each other as well.”

On the day our journalist visited Blyth, the Gynaecology theatre was dedicated to surgical terminations of pregnancies.

Women choose between a medical abortion (taking a pill) and surgery, and are supported when necessary with a counselling service.

Experienced obstetrics surgeon Graham Sellars said: “I insist on three things – that we are non-judgemental, supportive, and that women, following a termination, only get pregnant when they want to do so, so contraception is paramount.”

In most cases the termination takes just a few minutes, but many women opt to have a contraceptive device fitted at the same time. Usually women go home the same day.