Wrightington and the Falkland Islands’ capital of Stanley are almost poles apart in location – but their respective hospitals are pulling together for those in orthopaedic need.
The British overseas territory’s only hospital, King Edward VII Memorial has an ever-strengthening partnership with Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust to provide surgery for patients who are willing and able to travel to the UK for treatment.
There is a reciprocal agreement, so that all British citizens get free care in the Falklands, and Falkland Islanders can do the same in the UK.
The latest resident – one of just 3,000 islanders – to benefit from Wrightington Hospital, a specialist orthopaedic Centre of Excellence, is Bob Short.
Bob, aged 57, a sheep farmer, was up a ladder, when it slipped and the fall fractured his tibia and ankle, needing urgent surgery.
Due to the islands’ limited resources and complex surgery required, Bob needed to take the 8,050-mile flight to the UK.
Bob said: “For my benefit I prefer to come to the UK in case it was a long time stay. Obviously it was quite a long trip, 26 hours from the hospital in Port Stanley to the UK.
“Falkland residents know Wrightington Hospital is a renowned orthopaedic hospital and have friendly links with the islands.”
Bob added: “My time at Wrightington Hospital has been top class. I can’t see the Falklands being in partnership with a far better hospital to be honest.”
Consultant Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon at Wrightington Hospital, Mr James Davenport, who performed the operation on Bob, explained: “Most patients we have from the Falkland Islands are elective cases, but in Mr Short’s case it was more urgent with the damage done to his ankle and tibia.
“We also had his tibia 3D printed prior to his surgery, which helped us greatly and we have since given it to Mr Short as a memento.”
Wrightington consultants are also helping patients at home on the Falklands, with surgeons recently travelling to run orthopaedic clinics, undertaking basic surgical procedures.
Hip and knee surgeon, Amol Chitre is next to make the trip.
Amol said: “Our partnership is getting stronger and stronger.
“I’ve already seen first-hand the amazing and varied work that takes place at King Edward VII when I visited a year ago. It does everything from cradle to grave.
“You feel like you’re making substantial difference to the lives of people where the hospital is their only port of call. I saw around 100 patients in about five days last time I went.
“Sometimes, you can have patients on the waiting list for years, but require specialist treatment. That’s where we come in and support the excellent staff over there.”
Bob is expected to be discharged soon and return home to his family and 22,000 sheep.