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Pioneering Developments at Wrightington

Newsdate: 25th November 2010

Wrightington Hospital is renowned as a centre of excellence for orthopedic surgery. The first ever hip-replacement operations were performed at Wrightington in the early 1960s: pioneered by the work of Professor Sir John Charnley who used techniques of low-friction arthroplasty and made advances to counter post-operative infection.

Whilst drawing on the strength of the past, Wrightington’s highly talented staff continue to innovate keeping Wrightington at the cutting edge of both practice and research.

One such member of staff is Ann Price, who is an Advanced Practitioner in Arthroplasty and Associate Tutor at Edge Hill University. Ann with the team of five Arthroplasty Practitioners (two established and three currently in training) is developing new and more efficient ways of working at Wrightington.

Ann Price, Advanced Practitioner in Arthroplasty

Ann, who is also a Physiotherapist, has been trained to registrar level in the field of hip and knee joint replacements by her Consultant colleagues (using competency based assessments) having previously undertaken an M.Sc. in Advanced Practice, which equips her to work across disciplines and right across the patient pathway. This means that she (and those who have been similarly trained) can run their own outpatient clinics to review and instigate investigations/treatments for hip and knee replacement patients, assess some new patients and list people for surgery; as well as assisting in theatre, delivering pre and post-operative care and education, gaining consent for surgery and helping to manage patients on the wards.

There are many benefits to this way of working; it improves efficiency and ensures that appropriate skills are used across the patient pathway, freeing up Consultants’ time and minimizing risks. 

The team is constantly reviewing ways of working and trying to find different methods to deliver services. Another innovation is the “virtual clinic”. Advances in technology and electronic access to high resolution images such as x-rays allows some follow-up reviews to be carried out without the patients present. Patients only need to come into hospital if the results require additional treatment. This leads to a better experience for patients and again frees up more time for clinicians to treat patients.

Ann and her colleagues are also heavily involved in the Arthroplasty Care Practitioners Association, which brings together multi-professional practitioners involved with hip and knee replacement patients to share best practice and research. This organisation works closely with the British Orthopedic Association (BOA). Ann has also worked with the BOA and Skills for Health to produce a competency framework (i.e. national standards of practice) for people who work in this field, available on the BOA website.

In her role at Edge Hill Ann gives students a clinical context to their academic health studies. Edge Hill has very strong links with Hong Kong and Ann has been invited to deliver a course on joint replacement and rehabilitation; taking her knowledge, expertise and experience at Wrightington out to the international arena.