North West CATS
North West CATS

Care, courtesy and lots of smiles

April 2 2015

Mrs Pauline Marsh is no stranger to pain – for 10 years the severe osteoarthritis in her knees, ongoing respiratory infections and bursitis in her shoulder had plagued her and limited her mobility to such an extent that she had been given a blue badge. But, on New Year’s Eve, Mrs Marsh found herself in so much pain that she could not stop crying.

She recalls: “I didn’t know what to do with myself the pain in my shoulder was so bad. I called my wonderful doctors at the Spring Lane Surgery. I was sobbing and they arranged for me to come in and I was given additional pain killers. Later they referred me to Greater Manchester NHS Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (GMCATS) for an orthopaedic consultation.

From the moment Mrs Marsh, who is 75 years old, walked through the door of the GMCATS mobile clinical unit, located in the B&Q Car Park, Kay Street, Bolton, she was impressed: “It was clean, friendly and professional and everyone I met was so upbeat and cheerful,” she said “it was very reassuring and I was immediately put at my ease.”

Mrs Marsh saw Rituraj Patwardhan, an extended scope practitioner, who completed the initially assessment and examination and arranged for Mrs Marsh to have an immediate x-ray and ultrasound on her troublesome shoulder. “The clinician was reassuring and the girls who carried out the scans were wonderful. Following the scan, I was chaperoned back to see Mr Patwardhan with the results, and he explained that a previously diagnosed tear in my shoulder ligament was significantly worse than previously suspected.

“He explained that when it was scanned previously, at another hospital, it was probably inflamed and that had made the tear appear much smaller than it was” Mrs Marsh was told that she would need to see one of the specialist upper limb orthopaedic consultants at GMCATS and was pleasantly surprised that the appointment could be arranged for later the same day, which saved Mrs Marsh having to travel and attend another appointment on a different day. 

When Mrs Marsh met Mr Vasileios Kavouriadis, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, she explained to him that, due to an experience of surgery more than 30 years ago when she lost a great deal of blood, she really did not want to undergo another operation.

She said: “The consultant was very sympathetic and kind and suggested that the way forward could be an injection and physiotherapy. He said he could not guarantee how long the benefits of the injection would last but it would considerably ease the pain.

“He was right. Before the injection, I could not sleep, I just could not get comfortable enough to relax into sleep and when I did fall asleep, the pain would wake me up. Now I can sleep and that alone has made me feel a lot better in myself.”

“Everyone - my own doctors, the team at GMCATS, from the man who opened the door for me right through to the specialist consultant, was just wonderful and I would recommend the service whole-heartedly.”

GMCATS delivers a community based service from 15 different locations across Greater Manchester in both mobile clinical units and fixed sites such as leisure centres, health centres and hospitals.

GMCATS is commissioned by the 12 Clinical Commissioning Groups across Greater Manchester and over the last six years have seen over a quarter of a million patients, making a significant impact on the provision of outpatient services across Greater Manchester.  GMCATS has an excellent insight into what is required to provide a safe, effective, innovative, patient centred and value for money service for patients in Greater Manchester, offering care closer to home.

GMCATS is much more than mobile clinical units and has a large multi-disciplinary clinical team with more than 60 NHS experienced clinicians, across a range of specialities including Ear, Nose and Throat, Gastroenterology, Gynaecology, Orthopeadic, Urology, Vasectomy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry.  Supported by a full range of diagnostics and procedures including, CT, MRI, Dexa, Ultrasound, X-rays, Audiograms, Cystoscopy, Sigmoidoscopy, Gastroscopy, Colonoscopy and Nerve Conduction Studies.

GMCATS have developed good working relationships with GP referrers; acute hospital providers; patient groups; independent sector providers; ambulance services and a number of local community providers to ensure the service is aligned to local needs and offers shorter waiting times, expert clinical assessment and treatment, better outcomes and exceptional patient satisfaction.