Big bus, small town

The first thing you notice about the Mobile Surgical Unit is its size. It’s massive and you can’t help but give kudos to the steerologist (aka driver) who’s manoeuvred it into the tight spot behind the Kapiti Health Centre in Paraparaumu.

The bus travels the country bringing ‘the best care, closest to home’. And when you step inside you can see how.

It’s no different to an ordinary hospital theatre, with a cluster of nurses, orderlies and machines going beep. But this is the first time varicose vein procedures have been performed on the bus. And there’s an energy on the bus.

Richard Evans (vascular surgeon) is our vein specialist today.

Clinical Nurse Manager Liz Grant runs through the unique requirements of the bus and what to dos then it’s down to business as the first patient wheels in. The patients are from all walks of life, some nervous but have one, no two, things in common, they’re on a public hospital waiting list, plus their veins need treating.

The bus contracts to Capital Coast District Health Board (CCDHB). CCDHB makes its services accessible for patients meeting the treatment criteria, (they have venous ulcers or varicose vein bleeding).

The treatment is slick. Nurse Melissa ensures a sterile environment for equipment and assists Richard. It’s quick and minimally invasive treatment with  no pain relief or sedatives required.

Richard uses a medical sealant to close off the abnormal vein which is no longer doing its job. After a small, local injection, a thin tube (catheter) is inserted in the vein, then tiny pinhead amounts of adhesive are dispensed at intervals along the vein. All the while Richard monitors the procedure on the ultrasound machine. With not so much as a plaster, the patient is fitted with compression stockings – to wear for 10 days straight.  As Richard says, “The most complaints we get are about the stockings.”

With that it’s on to the next patient, where everything is wiped down and sterilised.

The above scenario will be repeated nine times today as Richard treats his list of patients.