You may only know Clifton Hospital as a unit with four inpatient wards, but to the left of the main entrance lies a whole host of services that serves a wide community.
Dermatology and Rheumatology Unit manager Jane Sanderson, who has just been accepted on a nurse prescribing course, is very proud of the various facilities that come within her jurisdiction.
She said: “This unit encompasses many functions on an outpatient and day case basis”
“Dermatology and Rheumatology covers an extensive range of treatments, some of which the general public may not be aware of.”
The Rheumatology doctors are based at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, but hold clinics at Clifton and Lytham so patients can often be seen closer to home.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. The immune system attacks the lining of the joints which causes inflammation and leads to symptoms such as pain and stiffness. It can affect a person’s whole immune system, including organs such as the lungs, heart and eyes.
The department holds early arthritis clinics where patients are fast tracked from their GP, so they can start treatments sooner.
Some of the biologic infusions will soon be administered in patients’ homes to improve patient experience. These infusions reduce inflammation by targeting the cells that attack the body’s joints.
The lead nurses for this service Janice Booth and Geoff Dodd, received a Health Champions award by the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society which was presented by Prime Minister, Teresa May, at the House of Commons last year.
The unit also has a dedicated clinical nurse specialist osteoporosis nurse, Helen Veevers, who runs clinics, visits patients at home and prescribes treatments that help to protect the bones.
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a minor fall or sudden impact causes a bone fracture.
The Dermatology department deals with all sorts of skin conditions and has a new triage nurse system to free up valuable doctor time.
There is a nurse led fast track skin cancer service, headed by Cancer Lead Nurse Heather Baines who can diagnose and remove skin cancers surgically. Patients are also referred onto other surgeons if their case is more complex.
Part of this service includes specially trained nurses Michelle Baker, Janette Fenton and Tony Eaton who can perform skin biopsies. Skin Cancer Care Coordinator, Michelle Forsyth goes out into the community to raise awareness and advise on skin cancer and how to keep safe in the sun.
Other dermatology services include injecting Botox into the armpits to temporarily stop excessive sweating and guides on camouflage products to help conceal various skin conditions such a pigment loss.
Janette Fenton, the Dermatology Nurse Specialist is the dermatology lead for biologic therapy – which works with the body’s immune system to fight infection and disease – and she also runs acne clinics, supporting and treating patients with complex conditions.
There are also various nurse led and consultant clinics for:
Psoriasis – a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales;
Acne – a common skin condition that affects most people at some point. It causes spots, oily skin and sometimes skin that’s hot or painful to touch; Eczema – a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked and
Alopecia – Hair loss.
Other services include allergy patch testing, phototherapy treatment for a range of skin conditions, drug monitoring, leg ulcer treatment and iontophoresis treatment which is an electrical current that stops hands and feet sweating excessively.
Unit Manager Jane has a lot to be proud of.
She said: “We like to be able to educate the patients to support themselves, whatever condition they are living with.
“I like to think that all the team here go that extra mile for our patients.
“Being a small hospital, we really have a family feel and get to know our patients pretty well.
“We have had really positive feedback from our Friends and Family Test questionnaires.
“We get such great satisfaction helping all our patients improve their quality of life in whichever service they use.”