PATIENTS will be putting up their hands to be treated at a therapy centre which has just opened in Fairfield Hospital.
Since September 30 the Hand Therapy Centre has conducted 148 surgeries: 26 elective and 122 emergency cases.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner said it would become a centre for excellence for hand surgery and greatly reduce waiting times for local patients.
‘‘No matter what your age or occupation, our fingers and hands play a vital role in our lives,’’ Ms Skinner said during a visit to the centre last week.
‘‘It’s not until we lose these common functions that we realise just how important they are.’’
The relocation of hand services — previously at Liverpool Hospital — combined with existing Fairfield Hospital services led to the formation of the new $2.9 million specialist hand service.
The centre takes hand trauma and injury patients from across south-western Sydney including Fairfield, Liverpool and Campbelltown.
One patient who has benefited is St Johns Park resident Tim Kutsal.
He fell off a truck about two weeks ago and grabbed something sharp on his way to the ground.
After arriving at the hand therapy centre, the scale of damage done to his fingers was assessed and he had tendon surgery a couple of days later.
Mr Kutsal is now going through 12 weeks of therapy and can’t speak highly enough of the process.
‘‘It’s really quick,’’ he said.
‘‘I didn’t have to wait very long for the surgery and I get therapy twice every week so it’s pretty regular.’’
Centre physiotherapist Victoria Tricardos had previously worked at Liverpool Hospital and said the move had created significant improvements.
Ms Tricardos said being situated next door to surgeons was one of the centre’s many benefits.
‘‘Also, at Liverpool we had these multi-disciplinary clinics most of the time,’’ she said.
‘‘But then we did a lot of the rehabilitation in another building and continued their treatment, so I think it’s better for patients to come to the one place and get all they need.’’
Patients usually come to the centre with either open or closed hand injuries, Ms Tricardos said.
‘‘Some have fractures, have had their hand caught under something and the skin is intact, or they’ve had a sporting injury,’’ she said.
‘‘Our patients have also had open injuries where they’ve cut into their hands and hurt tendons, nerves and bones with saws and knives,’’ she said.
Smithfield MP Andrew Rohan joined Mrs Skinner during her visit to the centre.
“Local patients now have access to specialised physiotherapy and occupational therapy services to help with their hand rehabilitation,” Mr Rohan said.
The centre offers: inpatient services for trauma and injury to hands; elective and emergency hand surgery; specialised physiotherapy and occupational therapy services; and outpatient hand clinics incorporating pre and post-operative clinical assessment and management of hand injuries.