Mr Ganesan is a Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon with East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and a Consultant with Sussex MSK Partnership East’s Spine Service. He has a specialist interest in adult degenerative spinal disorders.
What is your role with Sussex MSK Partnership East?
I provide a service for patients with neck and spine conditions that need investigation and/or treatment by a specialist spine surgeon. Since October last year I have been running a regular clinic at Sussex MSK Partnership East’s Community Clinic located on Wartling Road, Eastbourne.
What are the advantages of seeing patients in a community setting rather than in hospital?
It’s a nicer setting – much smaller than the hospital, less crowded and therefore easier for patients to find where they are going, so many find it less stressful. There’s the added bonus that they don’t have to pay to park. Although one or two have been a bit surprised to see a Consultant Surgeon out of a hospital setting, in general they seem to appreciate the convenience of having an appointment closer to where they live or work.
At what point in the patient’s journey do they see you?
Most of the patients I see in the community have presented with lower back pain, sciatica or neck pain and been referred to Sussex MSK Partnership East by their GP. Their referral will have been reviewed by an Extended Scope Practitioner (ESP) within 24 hours. If the patient has a condition that would benefit from swift intervention they are referred directly to me and I will see them as a priority. More often though my patients will have been seen by an Extended Scope Practitioner and had an MRI which has indicated that they have a condition that needs further investigation and/or treatment by a spinal surgeon.
What is your view on triage by Extended Scope Practitioners?
For spinal patients it seems to be working very well indeed. The specialist spinal ESPs have a very good knowledge of spinal conditions and following their assessment and investigation are able to offer suitable patients an option of conservative management including referral to physiotherapy and pain services before seeing me. They would promptly refer to me patients who have complex presentations, those who have failed conservative management and those would benefit from prompt surgical intervention, so it’s really very efficient for patients and clinicians alike.
What can GPs expect from Sussex MSK Partnerships East’s spine service?
They can expect to receive timely feedback about their patient’s care pathway and be kept informed of significant steps. Patient communication is managed by the Partnership’s team of Patient Care Advisors and patients are encouraged to direct any queries relating to their MSK condition to the team which hopefully takes some of the pressure off GP practices.