RCHT and UNISON celebrate ODP day: the unsung heroes of hospital theatres

Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) in Cornwall will be celebrating the first national ODP Day on Monday 14 May.

ODPs are Allied Health Professionals whose primary role takes place behind the closed doors of the operating department. They work as members of the anaesthesia team; surgical team or; caring for patients during the immediate post anaesthetic recovery phase.

RCHT employs 77 ODPs in its operating theatres across three sites at West Cornwall Hospital, Penzance, St Michaels Hospital, Hayle and the Royal Cornwall, Truro. They are a vital part of the theatre teams who help RCHT to deliver 25,000 emergency and planned surgeries in a year!

RCHT Theatre Practice Educator Heather McPherson said:

“To celebrate and raise awareness of their role, ODPs are being encouraged by their professional body the College of Operating Department Practice to come out from behind the closed theatre doors so that healthcare colleagues and the public can find out more about the profession and the work they do.”

UNISON organiser in Cornwall Simon Wintle said:

“UNISON is delighted to be celebrating the wonderful work of Operating Department Practitioners today. They are often unsung heroes in operating theatres and elsewhere in our hospitals, working daily with patients to provide them with professional and compassionate care.

“As a token of appreciation UNISON will today be visiting the Operating Theatre staff rooms in Royal Cornwall Hospital, West Cornwall Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospital to deliver cakes to our ODPs (many of whom are also UNISON members), and along with RCHT promoting the great work that they do.”

ODP and UNISON member Qiuli Nicholls works as First Assistant to the surgeon in gynaecology. She said:

“I’ve been an ODP for 9 years and was introduced to the ODP role by a friend.  I met my husband through being an ODP, so I would have to say that has been the best part of being an ODP! ODPs are important as they are part of the team in theatre. I think we ODPs are brilliant!”

ODP and UNISON member Luanne Wordley specialises in anaesthetics. She said:

“I’ve been an ODP for 17 years, before that I was working in the X-ray department and heard about the ODP training course from a colleague.

“I like theatre work because there is such a variety in surgical specialties no two days are ever the same. It is very interesting and highly practical work. With three areas for ODPs to specialise in it can be a diverse and rewarding career.

“ODPs are important because the doctors in anaesthetics, surgery and the recovery room rely heavily on our experience and skills. We are a very important part of the team.

“I think people should know being an ODP is a fun and exciting job that’s ever growing and expanding in its sphere of activities”

On the day there will be stands in the main entrances of West Cornwall and St Michaels Hospitals. Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro will have a stand in the Ingredients Restaurant. ODPs will be there to meet the public, talk about the work they do, and how to take up a career as an ODP.

Social media will also play a big part as everyone will be encouraged to #LoveYourODP. You can find out more about the event on the RCHT Facebook, College of ODPs in UNISON Facebook, Twitter accounts @RCHTWeCare and @UNISONSW, and searching “National ODP Day”.

Further information