Carpal Tunnel Release proceedure has put Bideford Medical Centre up for prestigious award.

BIDEFORD medical centre has reached the final for two national awards for a medical procedure now carried out at the surgery.

Patients have been able to have the Carpal Tunnel Release operation at their local GP surgery instead of having to travel to hospital.

This has saved the local NHS £150,000 over three years and reduced waiting times for the operation, which treats Carpal tunnel syndrome which causes pain and weakness in the hand due to pressure on a nerve in the wrist.

The surgery has been offering the surgery for 18 months and has carried out nearly 150 successful procedures in that time.

The local orthopaedic lead surgeon at North Devon District Hospital provides clinical supervision to GPs performing the operation to make sure the service is of the highest standard.

Olivia Bassett, practice manager at Bideford Medical Centre, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for these prestigious awards.

“Back in 2010 we upgraded the minor operating room at our surgery to meet the specification of a hospital day theatre.

“This meant we were able to carry out minor operations such as the Carpal Tunnel Release at a more convenient and comfortable place for patients.

“The number of patients who have used the service has exceeded our expectation which is great news.”

Dr John Womersley, a GP from Ilfracombe and chair of the northern locality of NEW (Northern, Eastern, Western) Devon clinical commissioning group, said: “This service shows how we can perform minor surgery in a more local setting, meaning better access for patients, while also relieving the pressure on large hospitals, so costing the NHS significantly less.”

The winners will be announced on Monday.