Bosses at the Royal United Hospital, Bath, say a new clinic for patients with urgent general surgical problems has quickened up the time patients are seen and treated.

The RUH has set up the clinic to enable patients to be seen, assessed, diagnosed and operated on as a ‘one stop shop’ basis, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions and lengthy inpatient stays.

Urgent general surgical problems may include conditions such as appendicitis, gallstones, hernias, abscesses and pancreatitis.

Emergency general consultant surgeon Sarah Richards, who leads the service, said: “The traditional process was that patients come in, investigations are ordered, there’s a queue, and then a further wait for a decision.

"If an operation is needed, there’s a further wait for that to be booked and a risk of cancellation, if something more urgent needs to take priority.

“The new clinic is really speeding things up - the RUH has provided resource not only for a consultant emergency surgeon to oversee the service, but has also purchased a dedicated ultrasound machine and provided extra theatre capacity to operate on emergency patients.”

In the first six months the service has been operating 788 patients were seen, of which 71 per cent were seen and discharged home the same day.

Twelve per cent of patients had their surgical procedure on the same day they were seen and six per cent of patients were added to the planned operating list for non-urgent surgery or were admitted to hospital.