Mandeville , Manchester — As part of its strategic plan, the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) is improving access to laparoscopic surgeries to residents in central Jamaica.
A news release from the SRHA said that with advances in surgical principles and techniques, laparoscopic surgery is now the standard of care and is now being offered at the Mandeville Regional (MRH) and Percy Junor Hospitals (PJH) in Manchester.
This follows the acquisition of two state-of-the-art high-definition laparoscopic towers, valued at $17.8 million.
Senior medical officer for the MRH, Dr Everton McIntosh, explained that laparoscopic surgery, also called minimally invasive surgery, is a modern surgical technique in which operations in the abdomen are performed through small incisions, rather than larger incisions needed in open surgery.
“Laparoscopic surgery has proven advantageous over open surgery, including less risk of bleeding, less risk of wound infections, less post-operative pain and so less need for pain killers. This surgery also results in less respiratory complications, quicker healing and recovery; which translates into shorter hospital admissions and quicker return to work, and overall reduced cost of care,” Dr McIntosh added.
For regional director of the SRHA, Michael Bent, the benefits of laparoscopic surgery are enormous for patients and the health care system.
“This is a regional focus as we have planned that by the first quarter of next year all the hospitals within the region — which covers Clarendon, Manchester and St Elizabeth — will be offering these services. It is part of our retooling plan as we aim to utilise whatever technology to offer more efficient and effective health care,” Bent said.
The regional director pointed out that the acquisition of the laparoscopic towers was funded with fees collected through individual health insurance, which is a means of assisting public health care facilities to achieve their development goals. He added that the Authority has been able to purchase several assets, including two ambulances which were converted from buses, a surgical microscope, an anaesthetic machine, and an ultra sound machine, over the last 15 months.
Senior medical officer at the PJH, Dr Carlos Wilson, said the hospital is pleased to be providing this type of surgery, which he noted, is the standard for many operations including gallbladder removal.
“In less than two weeks since acquiring the laparoscopic tower, we have successfully performed three gall bladder removal surgeries. At present, patients spend three days in hospital, but with laparoscopic surgery we may soon be able to have patients come in, do the operation, and go home the same day without being admitted. The recovery time and complications for patients are also much less with laparoscopic surgery,” Wilson said.
He added that a Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery Workshop will be conducted at the PJH on September 22. It is the hospital's intention to do various laparoscopic surgeries in the near future, Wilson said.
McIntosh said that the acquisition of the laparoscopic equipment will enable surgeons operating at MRH to “now practise what they have been trained to do and be better able to adhere to modern standards of surgical care. This will greatly benefit our patients, as well as greatly enhance the prestige and reputation of the hospital as an institution where quality care is standard.”