Specialist units reduce sugery stays

THE SETTING up of specialised breast cancer units will result in shorter stays in hospital for many patients who need to undergo a mastectomy, according to new research published yesterday.

The study at Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital, where a specialist breast unit was established in 2006, found that the number of patients discharged within 36 hours of a mastectomy and lymph node biopsy increased substantially between 2004 and 2007. Back in 2004/2005 just 3 per cent of patients were discharged so rapidly compared with 23 per cent in 2007.

The authors of the study, presented at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland annual research day yesterday, said it demonstrated that “the average length of stay for mastectomies and wide local excisions has fallen, with the introduction of a multi-surgeon specialised breast unit”.

They added: “The positive impact of specialisation in breast surgery is undisputed. Earlier patient discharge and a shift to post-operative care in the community may be challenging, but leads to more efficient use of limited healthcare resources.”

Source: Irish Times