Northumbria Healthcare plans centres of surgical excellence

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is set to establish two new centres of surgical excellence at its general hospitals at Wansbeck and North Tyneside for patients who need planned operations or procedures.

Monday, 12th September 2016, 12:48 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 15:16 pm
Ambulances outside Wansbeck Hospital

Following the successful opening of The Northumbria hospital in 2015 and the separation of emergency care from the thousands of patients attending hospital for planned care, the trust has been working hard to bring to fruition its long-term vision to improve facilities at Wansbeck and North Tyneside general hospitals.

The trust is making improvements to its planned surgical services to create an orthopaedic centre of excellence for the majority of complex orthopaedic procedures at Wansbeck General Hospital. This will include a new state-of-the-art enhanced recovery unit for patients who have more complex procedures and those who need more intensive post-operative care. Patients requiring less complex orthopaedic procedures can continue to have these at North Tyneside General Hospital.

At the same time, general surgery for patients who need to stay in hospital overnight, will take place at a new surgical unit at North Tyneside General Hospital, where a range of specialist surgical teams will be based.

Day case surgery will continue to take place at both Wansbeck and North Tyneside hospitals (as well as Hexham, Alnwick and Berwick), with more patients able to have their procedures and go home on the same day.

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However, as part of the new arrangements, the day surgery unit at Wansbeck General Hospital will extend its working hours as appropriate to allow as many patients as possible to return home the same day.

As part of the developments, improvements have been made to gynaecological services. A new dedicated pregnancy loss unit has been established at North Tyneside General Hospital, giving women and their partners enhanced privacy and dignity. A new pregnancy assessment unit has also opened at The Northumbria hospital co-located with the maternity suite which houses the Birthing Centre.

Dr Eliot Sykes, business unit director for emergency surgery and elective care at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Since opening The Northumbria we have been working hard with our surgical teams to make sure we deliver on our promise to improve local planned services at Wansbeck and North Tyneside hospitals.

“The improvements taking place mean that more operations and surgical procedures will be done locally and forms part of the vision we laid out several years ago.

“By concentrating our specialist and multi-disciplinary surgical teams in this way, we will create centres of excellence for both general surgery and for orthopaedic care and means we can get patients on the road to recovery much sooner, and home as quickly as possible after their procedures.”

Sarah Robinson, clinical director for emergency surgery and elective care at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Now that we’ve embedded our new system for emergency care, I am very proud to see these improvements at Wansbeck and North Tyneside hospitals which will bring huge benefits for patient care.

“The overwhelming majority - over 70 per cent of the surgical patients we see - come to us for planned operations and we know that coming into hospital for surgery can be daunting. Our priority is always to make sure people have access to the best possible quality of care and that they get home as soon as possible.

“It’s also worth remembering that in today’s modern NHS, with advances in technology and surgical techniques, more and more patients are able to go home on the same day as the surgery takes place and this is a trend that we are set to see continue.

“As always, our staff have been at the forefront of delivering these improvements which will bring significant benefits for patients for years to come and make sure our general hospitals thrive as we continue to push the boundaries of excellence in everything we do.”

Northumbria Healthcare carried out over 46,000 planned operations and day cases during 2015/16 across its hospitals in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck, as well as day case procedures in Alnwick and Berwick.

There will be no changes to the planned operations and procedures carried out at Hexham General Hospital.

All ante-natal care will continue to take place locally.