New regional Hand Unit opens at St John’s Hospital

Patients across the south east of Scotland are set to benefit from a new dedicated hand unit at St John’s Hospital, Livingston.


The Hooper Hand Unit was officially opened on Friday 30 August by retired hand surgeon Mr Geoffrey Hooper, who the unit is also named after. Mr Hooper was at the forefront of modern hand surgery and spent 10 years as a Consultant Orthopaedic and Hand Surgeon at St John’s Hospital until he retired in 2006.


This regional facility provides a new base for the hand team who carry out planned surgery and on-going treatment for conditions such as hand injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, trigger finger and Dupeytren’s disease.


The service is unique in Scotland and brings together the skills and expertise of plastic and orthopaedic surgeons under one umbrella, as well as specialist physiotherapy and nursing staff to provide a one-stop clinic for the population of Lothian and beyond.


The new six room outpatient facility has dedicated imaging equipment which will improve the speed of diagnosis and, where appropriate, allow patients to receive immediate targeted pain relief.


Around 3,500 patients from across the region are expected to attend appointments in the new unit each year and an additional orthopaedic hand surgeon has recently been recruited to the team to lead the carpal tunnel service.


Mrs Dominique Davidson, Consultant Hand Surgeon, NHS Lothian, said: “This is an excellent facility which will allow us to provide a one-stop clinic for patients ensuring fast and more effective access to the care they need.


“We are delighted to be able to recognise Mr Hooper’s contribution to hand surgery and to St John’s Hospital by naming this unit after him and are thrilled that he was able to join us for the opening.”


NHS Lothian has invested around £110,000 in creating and equipping the unit which is based on the first floor of the hospital.


Mr Hooper, retired hand surgeon and former president of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand said: “This is an excellent facility, and to see it is like a dream come true for me. I commend all those whose efforts brought it about.


“I am sure that the staff working in this unit will provide the highest level of service to those with hand disorders and injuries.”


Dr David Farquharson,  Medical Director, NHS Lothian said: “This is an excellent facility which has come about though the dedication and commitment of the hand team at St John’s Hospital. It is also provides us with an opportunity to recognise Mr Hooper’s work in developing the hand service over the past 20 years.


“It further demonstrates NHS Lothian’s commitment to the hospital and to providing high quality care for the patients of West Lothian and beyond.”