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Supporting Hernia Awareness Month at OneWelbeck
June 2021 is ‘Hernia Awareness month’, which is predominantly a North American public awareness campaign to promote awareness and understanding of what an abdominal hernia is, and how it should be managed. These include inguinal, femoral, umbilical, para-umbilical, incisional, spigelian, ventral and epigastric hernias. Although this media campaign has not yet been widely adopted in Europe or the UK, it is a useful opportunity to highlight the difficulties that patients with abdominal and groin hernias in the UK will face as we gradually relax the covid restrictions in our society and health care.
The lasting effects of Covid-19
During the Covid surges and recovery periods since March 2020, elective planned surgery for these hernias has either been cancelled, or at best, performed at low volume for high priority patients with more marked symptoms and emergency presentations. Pre-covid, there were almost 100,000 hernia repairs performed annually in NHS England. Over the last 14 months, patients with non-life-threatening conditions (such as less symptomatic hernias) have had difficulty accessing GPs and have therefore not been referred into secondary care for assessment. Those already on waiting lists for scheduled hernia repair have been stalled and will sadly face long waits for treatment.
There has also been a globally observed reduction in most surgical emergencies presenting to Emergency Departments during the covid period, including complicated hernias (incarcerated/strangulated). This has been for many reasons, including difficulty in accessing GPs, patient shielding and anxiety in entering the secondary care environment, and the major disruption in face-face hospital outpatient consultations necessary for the diagnosis of hernias. Interestingly, we have not yet seen the rapid increase in emergency presentation of hernia complications, but this may still come.
Certainly, as access to primary care comes on-line again, we anticipate a huge increase in GP referrals of pre-existing and new hernias which will be added to already long waiting lists.
How OneWelbeck can help
Here at OneWelbeck, we have a team of exemplary minimally invasive hernia surgeons, state of the art facilities and diagnostics, and highly competitive financial packages for self-funding patients as well as those with private health care.
To get in touch with us, simply fill out the form below.
Written by Mr Jonathan Wilson, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at OneWelbeck Digestive Health, specialising in minimally invasive surgery for colorectal diseases, groin-abdominal wall hernias, and gallstones.