At Barts Health NHS Trust, and across the capital, new surgical hubs have been established to make sure patients get back on the road to health and recovery, and reduce the numbers waiting for surgery.
Twenty-four types of routine operations will be delivered from fast-track surgical hubs at multiple locations across London, substantially boosting the amount of planned surgery that can be carried out over the coming months.
Two of the hubs are based at Whipps Cross Hospital, with the Eye Treatment Centre providing cataract surgery and the Plane Tree Centre offering common bladder and ear, nose and throat procedures. At Newham Hospital, the Gateway Surgical Centre will be providing a number of orthopaedic procedures including hip and knee replacements.
Edna Cornish, who’s 84-years-old, recently had cataract surgery at Whipps Cross Hospital. Edna was referred for surgery in January 2020 but her surgery has been cancelled twice due to the pandemic.
Edna said: “Once a new date for my surgery was confirmed the entire process to my surgery day was smooth sailing. I had to isolate for three days before the surgery. So, I took a covid test on the Wednesday and was in for surgery on the Saturday.
“I was pleasantly surprised with how quick the actual surgery was, I live 20 mins away and I had to ring my partner, who escorted me to my appointment, before he got home to turn back around to pick me up.
“I’ve been with Whipps since I was born and have received care here many times and each occasion has been very pleasant; this time was no different.”
Miss Sudeshna Patra, Consultant Eye Surgeon at Whipps Cross, said: “In essence the surgical hub is an innovative queue management system much like smart checkout tills in the supermarket. Patients with less complex surgical needs are fast-tracked through a streamlined high flow pathway.
“This has the benefit of both reducing the backlog of patients in need of elective surgery as well allowing more individualised care for the patients with complex needs.”
Dr Nick Bunker, clinical director at the Gateway Surgical Centre, said: “These new hubs will benefit patients in London for many reasons. Operations that were cancelled or postponed because of the pandemic are being rapidly rescheduled, and by keeping these hubs Covid-free, we’re ensuring they’re safe and secure for people to be treated in.
“Another big benefit of the hubs is that patients will be treated by surgeons who are performing the same type of surgery day in, day out. Developing hubs of expertise like these will help deliver better patient outcomes. We hope these hubs act as an exemplar that others will follow.”
The surgical hubs are all based in Covid-secure environments, with dedicated facilities bringing skills and resources together under one roof, with staff caring only for surgical patients to minimise the risk of infection.
By undertaking large numbers of the same procedure every day, clinicians will streamline care and ensure patients get the best possible results.
The plans for the hubs were discussed with Londoners of different backgrounds from all parts of the capital who backed the approach, with support offered for people who need to travel.
At Barts Health, hospitals have been adapting the way they operate so staff can continue to treat and care for patients safely while Covid-19 remains a threat to everyone’s health. It is safe for anyone to attend the hospitals and access the care they need.