Hospital staff will mark Operating Department Practitioners Day tomorrow, paying tribute to an often overlooked part of the NHS team that play a vital role in keeping patients safe.
An operating department practitioner (ODP) is a highly trained registered healthcare professional working in a range of critical care environments.
ODPs prepare the operating theatre for surgery, monitor patients so the anaesthetist can respond to their needs, keep track of all the surgical equipment needed for operations and make sure a patient is well enough to return to their ward.
They also use their expert skills in other areas too, places like accident and emergency, intensive care, endoscopy, ambulances, cardiac arrest teams, maternity, research and education.
UNISON represents ODPs through the College of Operating Department Practitioners.
UNISON regional organiser Sam Older said: “All too often we forget about the absolutely critical role operating department practitioners play looking after patients before, during and after surgery.
“While we should be applauding this vital group of clinical staff all year round, everyone who values the NHS should take a moment tomorrow to thank ODPs for their hard work and dedication.”
At Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, ODPs will receive UNISON goody bags and are holding a stall in the hospital to raise awareness of their role.
As well as their role in operating theatres, ODPs at Broomfield are involved in the stroke team, the cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) clinic and the resus/trauma team, helping respond to alerts on the wards.
Several ODPs have gone on to leadership roles, while some help train others with faculty roles at Anglia Ruskin University.
Nick Archer, an ODP and Broomfield’s clinical operations manager for theatres, said: “ODPs form an integral, important and often unrecognised part of the multidisciplinary team whose skill set spans far greater than the operating theatre.
“In today’s ever-evolving healthcare sector, an ODP has the opportunity to work in a variety of different settings and embark on a career in leadership if they so wish.”