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How to ... Run a minor surgery service

A look at how to run a minor surgery service efficiently and how to maximise profits

A look at how to run a minor surgery service efficiently and how to maximise profits

1. Set up a project team that includes doctor, nurse and administrator. The doctor in charge should preferably have had further surgical training or an interest in undertaking minor surgical procedures.

2. Define clearly what procedures are to be included.

3. Dedicate a regular and specific slot during the working week for performing minor surgery.

4. Internally advertise the service to ensure that other healthcare professionals within the practice are not only aware of it but are also aware of what is and is not included.

5. Initiate an internal referral protocol and form, either paper or electronically based. This should include a prioritisation of the condition being referred, a waiting list and appointments system.

6. Advertise the service to patients emphasising that it is an additional or enhanced service to that which is expected to be offered in general practice.

7. Ensure that the patient, prior to surgery, completes a robust informed consent form.

8. Run the operating session efficiently ie maximise the skills and use of time by the individual carrying out the surgery. A "production line" system should be put in place with local anaesthetic administered well before the procedure and post-operative dressings done by the nurse whilst the doctor is undertaking the next operation.

9. Record the details of the operation in the notes.

10. Follow up by nurse.

11. Claim as a directly prescribed substance all materials including anaesthetic, sutures and dressings used.

12. Record all procedures for separate submission to the PCT both for current payment under the negotiated contract and for future contract negotiations.

If the small points are implemented and observed, the whole process should run like a Swiss watch and be as rewarding as a Swiss bank account!

Dr Jim Sherifi is a GP in Sudbury, Suffolk

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