Patients needing routine bone and joint operations are being treated faster and more fairly through closer collaboration between clinicians across our group of hospitals.
Our 57 orthopaedic surgeons used to operate separate services on three sites, but recently they came together in a co-ordinated network. This means all patients can receive expert treatment, sooner, at the appropriate centre of surgical excellence.
For example, most routine primary hip and knee operations are performed in the Barts Health Orthopaedics Centre (BHOC) adjacent to Newham hospital. It has doubled its activity and is now doing more than 80 operations a week, including some from Homerton Healthcare.
Frailty fractures are tackled in a specialist fragility unit at Whipps Cross hospital, which has a safety record above the national average. Meanwhile, complex surgery like correcting limb deformity or replacing joints is done at The Royal London hospital in conjunction with the major trauma centre.
Patients still have outpatient appointments at their local hospital, but by travelling for surgery to a specialist centre they receive treatment that is faster, fairer and of consistently high quality. This has contributed to a dramatic and ongoing fall in the numbers of people waiting more than a year for a planned orthopaedic procedure.
The network’s success shows how the Barts Health group model can be a springboard for the wider redesign of service pathways to fit changing patterns of patient need.
Rej Bhumbra, clinical network director for Barts Orthopaedics and the North East London Orthopaedic Network, said:
“We are in period of great change, for both our patients and hospitals. We are streamlining our leadership, structures and processes to increase patient movement across the whole region whilst adapting our capacity to respond to the ebb and flow of demand.
“Working in a different way with the benefit of a large and flexible network means we can reduce waiting times, increase equity of access, and maximise patient safety as well as deliver excellent clinical care. The teams across the network understand that evolving clinical and operational pathways takes time and effort – but we all feel there is a real long-term advantage to making this transformational change happen for the benefit of all patients in north east London.”
Read more about how we are working differently to transform care for patients in Safe, Compassionate and Efficient, our group operational plan for 2023/4.
Note: The number of daily theatre lists done at BHOC has doubled since before the pandemic, with the average number of operations rising from 32 a week in 2019/20 to 73 a week in 2022/3.