Poole Hospital: Lumbar puncture waiting times slashed

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Patients needing a lumbar puncture can now expect shorter waiting times at Poole Hospital, as the procedure – traditionally performed by a doctor – can now be offered by a nurse.

A lumbar puncture is a diagnostic test used to take a sample, or measure the pressure, of fluid in the spinal cord. It can help diagnose neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and pressure-related headaches. 

From this week, lumbar punctures can be offered by senior nurse, sister Joy Peeke, who has undergone months of training from doctors specialising in neurology.

Waiting times for non-urgent lumbar punctures have dropped from around two months to just two weeks. 

The training was led by Dr Amy Ross Russell, who says:

“When I joined Poole Hospital, I saw the nursing staff on the unit are incredibly motivated and passionate about developing their practise, so we explored including lumbar punctures to the wide range of diagnostic tests already offered. I had experience of nurses performing this role at a teaching hospital.”

The hospital’s medical investigations unit is known for providing cutting-edge nursing care. In 2012, nurses on the unit became among the first in England, outside of hospital emergency departments, to prescribe blood and blood products as part of routine care. This is another service that was previously only provided by doctors. 

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