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Consultant Naveed Afzal (right) with, from left, Jan Willmott (day surgery manager), chief executive of Dorset County Hospital Jan Bergman and Cara Southgate (matron) with patient Clifford Marsh First published Thursday 31 January 2008 in News 

BRIDPORT Hospital is breaking new ground with a quarter of a million pound machine that is revolutionising kidney stone treatment. Before, patients from West Dorset had to go to either London or Bristol and for some elderly patients that was too much. Now the ultrasonic shock wave treatment - called lithotrypsy - means consultant urologist 

Naveed Afzal can treat 10 patients a day at Bridport without general anaesthetic. So now instead of a stay in hospital and a large abdominal scar, patients can go home immediately and are left with only a small amount of bruising. The treatment takes around 20 minutes to break up the kidney or uric acid stones into sand-
size particles and they can be passed without trouble. The hospital treated its first batch of patients, one of whom was 77-year-old Clifford Marsh.

He said: "I expected it to be worse, but it was lovely!" 

The project is collaboration between Dorset County Foundation Hospital and the Dorset Primary Care Trust. Together they have leased the machine and at the moment patients are being dealt with in Bridport once every six months, but Mr Afzal is hoping it will soon be once a month.

He said: "It was a big problem referring patients to London or Bristol but this will solve that and we can treat people at our own discretion. This is also very cost-effective." He said competition for services with Bournemouth and the east of the county meant it has taken nearly two years to get the lithotripsy machine installed.

Dorset County Hospital chief executive Jan Bergman said: "We have three excellent consultant surgeons with good clinical support staff and the department can demonstrate very good clinicaloutcomes."

Mr Afzal said: "We get a lot of kidney stones here because of the hard water. And diet plays a part. Here we are part of a farming community and farmers often eat a lot of meat which can cause uric acid stones. People should eat more fruit and vegetables and citrus fruit in particular."

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