PATIENTS at a hospital in Taunton who have received treatment for rectal cancer are now able to have follow-up surgery without the need to stay overnight.

Musgrove Park Hospital has become the first in the UK to offer closure of ileostomy – a small operation patients undergo when they no longer require a stoma – as a day procedure.

Previously, a hospital stay of up to a week was required.

The innovative approach sees patients return home the same day, under the watchful eye of Somerset NHS Foundation Trust’s acute home treatment team - the Hospital at Home.

Following colorectal surgery, patients are typically required to wear a stoma bag for at least six weeks as their large bowel recovers.

The closure of ileostomy sees the bowel reattached, eliminating the need for a stoma and signalling an important milestone in a patient’s fight against rectal cancer.

Somerset County Gazette: Musgrove Park Hospital has become the first in the UK to offer closure of ileostomy

The first procedure was carried out by Shelly Griffiths, a consultant colorectal surgeon at the Trust.

In a statement, Miss Griffiths said: "Compared with most surgery, the join created near the rectum during the procedure has a high risk of leaking, which is why we sometimes need to divert stools into a stoma while the join heals."

She explained further on the benefits of the new approach, explaining: "Traditionally a closure of ileostomy procedure involves a stay in hospital for up to five nights, but we're the first trust in the country to offer this as a day surgery, where patients can come in for their procedure in the morning and are then able to go home later in the afternoon."

One of the first beneficiaries of the new procedure, Andy from Ilminster, expressed his gratitude, saying: "I'm so very glad that I went ahead with my day surgery reversal - Shelly and her amazing team worked wonders to make the process seamless."

Dr Mike Walburn, a consultant anaesthetist at Musgrove Park Hospital, focused on the comprehensive support that is extended to patients during their at-home recovery.

He said: "Evidence shows us that this is truly better for patients’ recovery and rehabilitation, and feedback so far is that they love recovering in their own surroundings, and often do so more quickly.

"Not only is this better for our patients, but receiving treatment in their own homes is starting to free up beds for patients who can only receive their care in hospital."