Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr Aravind Desai and his team are celebrating after being awarded the iWantGreatCare Certificate Of Excellence 2021.
The certificates are awarded annually to the most highly recommended clinicians in the country, having consistently received superlative feedback from their patients.
Mr Desai, who has treated patients at St Hugh’s Hospital, Grimsby, for four years, said: “It’s a big achievement, and I am grateful to the St Hugh’s team in helping me get there – it’s teamwork.”
iWantGreatCare is a leading and trusted independent healthcare review website for patients to provide meaningful feedback, not only for the providers but also for patients of the future.
Mr Desai’s specialities are shoulder and elbow sporting injuries, and treating conditions including rotator cuff tears, instability, and impingement. He also specialises in shoulder and elbow joint replacement for arthritis and trauma.
“The iWantGreatCare Certificate Of Excellence is a mark of reassurance for myself, my team and my patients,” he said. “It’s all about teamwork – I’m a big believer in that. We work hard and I’m pleased that is recognised.”
One patient declared, “Thank God we have access to this level of expertise”, while another who underwent a shoulder replacement at St Hugh’s told how it “completely changed” their life.
“I had a most painful shoulder, eventually resulting in my complete inability to use my right arm at all, and it just dangled by my side,” they explained.
“The excruciating pain badly disrupted my sleep. Eventually I was referred to Mr Desai and, wow, what a difference. After x-rays, he showed them to me and explained what was wrong and said I definitely needed a replacement shoulder.
“I wasn’t waiting too long before the op was performed and completely changed my life. I can now use my arm completely with no pain. Throughout the whole time, Mr Desai made sure I was comfortable and, both before and after the procedure, kept me in the picture of what was happening and what to expect, giving me complete confidence, with no fear. I cannot thank him enough.”
A 64-year-old St Hugh’s patient explained how they were anxious about having an operation. “When I met Mr Desai, he listened to my concerns about my shoulder and although I didn’t have a lot of pain, my movements were limited,” they said. “It was only seven weeks until my operation. I was very nervous of how much pain I would be in afterwards. I nearly backed out of having it done.
“On the morning of my operation, Mr Desai talked me through what was going to happen, and the anaesthetist came to talk to me. I told him my worries.
“The care from everyone was absolutely brilliant. I came round afterward, and my arm was numb from my shoulder to my fingers. I was told this would last 12 hours, so was waiting for the pain to kick in.
“I can say with all honesty I never had any pain after my operation. I was so relieved. I did all the exercises the physio gave me, and I know have a lot more movement in my arm and shoulder. I thoroughly recommend Mr Desai and all the staff at St Hugh’s.”
Mr Desai and his colleagues have risen to the challenge that the Covid-19 pandemic has raised for medical care. St Hugh’s is designated as a Super Green Site, meaning people who do not have coronavirus can safely undergo surgical procedures.
For some time, it has been following strict measures – such as staff and patient screening, and separate entrances for different departments – to protect everyone using it.
“It is not easy at this time,” said Mr Desai. “The pandemic has made things harder, and the volume of patients has come down; everything is moving at a slower pace because of infection control and social distancing, and it’s hard work. This can be tough on the patients too, but we work with them, and things are slowly getting back to normal.
“We have adapted, for example, carrying out telephone consultations rather than face-to-face where possible, to keep both us and the patient safe. Gone are the days when we have to meet in person – it’s not always necessary, and the traditional ways of management have changed too. We have meetings virtually now, which saves much time. Technology has really helped.
“Sometimes, of course, it’s not enough and we need to meet face-to-face, but that’s been one of the biggest changes.
“To receive this award during the pandemic is very good and supportive. Patients are at the heart of what I do, and how they feel and what they experience is vital. It is very rewarding, and I am very proud.”
Mr Desai completed the world-renowned upper limb fellowship from Wrightington Hospital, a centre of excellence. He also completed higher surgical training in the prestigious Northern Deanery Training Programme in Newcastle, which is where he developed his interest in shoulder and elbow.
He obtained both a Master of Science and Surgery in Trauma and Orthopaedics from Edge Hill University and was among the 150 candidates to do so.
Keen on teaching and training, he has published and presented nationally and internationally, and is a leading light in introducing new ways to treat his patients, such as awake surgery, day case surgery, enhanced recovery, and clinic-based ultrasounds.
As well as at St Hugh’s, Mr Desai treats patients at many other hospitals and clinics around the region. That the feedback he has received to win the award is consistent, he said, is very important.
“It’s across the board, and that means a lot,” he explained. “Rather than it being for just one hospital in particular, or one procedure, it demonstrates that patients are receiving good care from me and my team, regardless.
“Also, the feedback is anonymous and undergoes a fair amount of scrutiny, so people know it’s feedback they can trust.
“No one especially likes to come into hospital or undergo a procedure. It can cause great anxiety and fear. I encourage my patients to talk to each other – there’s nothing like talking to someone who’s had the same procedure you are about to undergo. I like to make the experience as easy as possible.”
He added: “It is my job to make people happy and go home with a smile. Feedback about what patients have actually experienced matches nothing else.”
The certificates are only awarded to a select number of people who meet iWantGreatCare’s exacting quality standards.
Mr Desai has achieved more than 30 five-star ratings from patients.
“Very personable and explained things I could understand,” wrote one patient from St Hugh’s, aged 79. “I had a replacement shoulder, which has worked really well. After eight weeks I can swing my golf clubs without pain.”
“I had a reverse shoulder replacement and Mr Desai kept me informed of what would happen right from the first consultation, up to the day of the operation,” wrote another. “I couldn’t have had better treatment, and feel very grateful to him”
One patient described how the pain in their left shoulder was so intense it disturbed their sleep. “After seeing Mr Desai,” they said, “I was given an x-ray and was informed that I needed a shoulder replacement. All the way through, from operation to physio, I was kept up-to-date.
“One year later I had my right shoulder operated on. Mr Desai always took time to explain everything he was going to do, both before and after the operation. I had complete confidence in him and am now pain-free and can use both arms freely. I cannot praise or thank him enough for what he has done.”
Of the iWantGreatCare awards, Jon Twinn, Managing Director of iWantGreatCare, said: “Thousands of healthcare users review their care each day to recognise excellent service, or to suggest how care could be improved for the next patient. It is a great honour to recognise the hard work and dedication that clinical colleagues show each and every day and humbling to give a voice to the thousands of patients who take the time to review the treatment and care they receive.”