Previously weekly clinics at Bradford Royal Infirmary, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, were run by specialist doctors.
“The creation of this nurse-led service has ensured that my doctor colleagues and I are freed up”
This had been the case since 1992 but two specially trained nurses recently took over the role of administering injections to people living with conditions including blepharospasm – a twitch of the eye or cheek – and excessively watery eyes known as epiphora.
These painful conditions can sometimes stop a person from opening their eye or driving, and can be mistaken for stroke symptoms by others.
However, Botox injections can offer relief, explained sister Julie Jones, who is leading the new service alongside nurse Sumia Kanwal.
“Injections of Botox can be used in minute quantities to reduce the tone or strength in individual muscles,” Ms Jones said. “It is therefore ideal in treating conditions like blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm in which small groups of muscles go into spasm.”
sister julie jones
Source: Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Injecting Boxtox into individual facial muscles can alleviate twitching and spasms for patients. The treatment takes two to three days to work and maximum benefit is usually experienced one to weeks after injection.
“Unfortunately it isn’t a cure and so injections usually need to be repeated every three months or so according to a person’s symptoms,” said Ms Jones.
The new nurse-led clinic started in late January and runs every Tuesday morning, seeing an average eight patients ranging from young to old.
Each patient can have as many as nine injections each into their upper and lower eyelids as well as their cheeks and around their mouth.
Both nurses received 10 weeks theory and practical training under the supervision of consultant ophthalmologist, John Bradbury, and registrar, Sohail Ahmed.
“For our patients these injections provide a three-month release from the pain that they endure so courageously day in, day out,” said Mr Bradbury.
Meanwhile, he said the new nurse-clinic had enabled doctors to get on with other vital work.
“For our department, the creation of this nurse-led service has ensured that my doctor colleagues and I are freed up to do work more appropriate to our skills in treating the most serious and urgent cases,” he said.