How well do you sleep
History of the Sleep Disorder Centre
Sleep studies were first carried out at the Queen Victoria Hospital in 1992. Dr Peter Venn had developed an interest in obstructive sleep apnoea when he worked with Dr Laurie Loh at The National Hospital, Queen Square in London, between 1984 -1987. Initally, there were no other staff, and Dr Venn studied the first handful of patients by night time clinical observation and the measurement of oxygen levels in blood using a
Needless to say, this did not last long, and an auxillary nurse was employed to admit and monitor one patient per week using a rather crude 4 channel monitor to record data, together with an infrared video camera. As patient referrals grew in number, and word spread about the service, more staff were needed, and a part secretary was employed. Links to the orthodontic service were established in 1996, enabling suitable patients to be treated using mandibular advancement splints.
Over the decade of the 1990s, patients were referred with
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
, but also other conditions such as narcolepsy and periodic limb movements during sleep. Treatment numbers rose, particularly using CPAP for OSA, and with that, increasing expertise was gained by the 3 sleep technicians employed at that time.
By 2003, the service comprised 3 beds funded by the NHS, but located within the McIndoe Surgical Centre at the Queen Victoria Hospital. Staffing comprised a part time service manager, 2 co-ordinators, and 3 technicians. 18 patients were admitted per week, and there were 2 outpatient clinics and 1 technician clinic held per week.
Now, the service was too big to be sustained within the hospital and, in 2006, a decision was made to relocate to a suitable building close by. Nearly a year was spend finding suitable premises to lease, applying for a change from domestic to medical use with Mid Sussex District Council, and refurbishing the building for use as an inpatient and outpatient facility. A small brick built workshop in the back garden was converted for use as an administration facility and office.
The Sleep Disorder Centre at East Grinstead thus became the only NHS funded centre for sleep medicine to be located outside a standard NHS hospital site. With the move came the ability to expand, both in patient numbers, and in the range of disorders that it was possi ble to treat. The first patients were admitted to the new Centre in April 2007, and the facitlity quickly became a ‘hit’ with the patients, who found it comfortable, friendly, and conducive to sleep, and with easy car parking!
Two further consultants (a neurologist and a chest physician) have since joined the team, together with a clinical psychologist. Further new and ‘state of the art’ equipment was funded and purchased, and .the range and number of patients it is possible to treat has increased dramatically
Currently, there are 22 staff employed (mostly part time). Over 1500 inpatients are admitted per annum, and clinics are held every week day. Over 4000 patients are now treated with CPAP machines for OSA, and many more for a range of other sleep disorders.
From the 3rd January 2012, the sleep disorder centre will move back to the Queen Victoria Hospital site in the Jubilee centre.
© 2013 East Grinstead Sleep Centre