Surgeon calls for kidney stones patients to be treated as day cases
Treating kidney stones patients as day cases could save the NHS thousands of "bed days" every year, experts have said.
While many cases of kidney stones are small enough to be passed in urine, a number require hospital treatment.
One treatment option is a ureteroscopy - where a long thin telescope is inserted to locate a stone, which is then either broken up or removed.
The majority of people who have their kidney stones removed this way require an overnight stay in hospital.
Experts at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) have been treating many patients as day cases.
They say that if other NHS organisations across the country followed suit, then the NHS could save 10,000 "bed days" every year.
Nationally, just 22% of these procedures are completed as day cases.
Bhaskar Somani, a consultant urological surgeon at UHS, and his team are performing more than three times the amount of ureteroscopies in a day than the national average.
In a study presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in London, Mr Somani and his colleagues reported 78% of 544 stone removal procedures using ureteroscopy were performed at UHS between 2012 and 2016 with a success rate of 95%.
Mr Somani said: "With rising prevalence of stone disease and increasing pressures on the NHS as a whole, any changes which can be made to speed up treatment for patients and reduce hospital stays are extremely welcome.
"What we have shown in Southampton over a sustained period of time and in published research is that day case ureteroscopy for kidney stones is viable, successful and has an extremely low complication rate.
"On a national scale, if we look at pulling the national average up in line with our performance of 78%, there is scope to prevent around 10,000 patients a year requiring a hospital stay of one day."
Waste products in the blood can form crystals which accumulate inside the kidneys. Over time, the crystals can form into a hard stone-like lump.
The condition is quite common and occurs in about three in 20 men and up to two in 20 women. It is most likely to affect people aged 30 to 60.