Part of a £2.1million investment, the Urology Investigation Unit (UIU) at Worthing Hospital first opened last summer as a new specialist urology area and has transformed the way we care for patients.
The service investigates and treats patients with urological problems such as disorders of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, prostate, and reproductive organs.
The unit was converted from an unused eye theatre space into a dedicated area for appointments, clinics and procedures, enabling care to be given via a one-stop urology outpatient service.
The new space and way of working has resulted in a 30% increase in the number of new patients seen, follow up appointments and procedures. And a recent survey revealed 100% of people would recommend the UIU to their friends and family.
Ruth Dekkers, Advanced Urology Nurse Practitioner said: “Having a one-stop service has made appointments and procedures so much easier for patients and has enhanced the flow of the department.”
“The UIU has bought together a multidisciplinary team of doctors and specialist nurses and we are so proud to be working as a cohesive team.”
Roderick Oliphant-Callum, 79, from Rustington, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2020 and underwent treatment at the outpatient department before completing his treatment at the unit.
Following a year of successful treatment, Roderick returned to the unit for a three-month and six-month check-up, which has now progressed to a check-up every nine months.
He said: “The service remained excellent throughout my treatment, but it was wonderful to move to a beautiful, clean, and bright environment which is exclusive to urology.”
“The unit is more private. You can see a receptionist specific to the department, and you rarely have to wait long in the waiting room before you are called straight through.”
Procedures, such as prostate biopsies, can now be done from the unit as an outpatient procedure using local anaesthetic. This reduces waiting times for theatre slots, avoids using general anaesthetic and saves waiting time for the patient.
The new space has also provided an opportunity to upskill staff and extend their role, including training nurses to take bloods within the unit. This also means patients no longer need to make appointments with the pathology lab to have these done. The unit also has plenty of toilets available, which is fundamental for this type of service.
UIUs are recommended by the national GIRFT (getting it right first time) programme and are key to using urology outpatient services more effectively by concentrating activity together.
We are due to open our second UIU at Princess Royal Hospital in spring 2023, as part of a £7.7 million investment to further improve patient experience and provide swift diagnosis and treatment without needing to admit patients.