by NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group
The local NHS has released further details on its proposals to improve adult inpatient orthopaedic surgery in south east London. The proposal to be considered, developed by senior doctors and nurses as well as patient representatives and other stakeholders, is to consolidate these services into two elective orthopaedic centres.
Currently, patients in south east London can have orthopaedic surgery – such as repairing or replacing hip and knee joints – carried out at seven different inpatient hospital sites.
The proposal, to be tested against the status quo, is to develop two centres with dedicated theatres and ring-fenced beds, which all orthopaedic consultants would use to carry out surgery. The centres would be owned and run by local NHS hospitals.
Other orthopaedic care, such as emergency, day case and outpatient appointments, would not be affected by the plans, so would continue at existing hospital sites. Patients would only go to an elective orthopaedic centre for planned surgery.
There are a number of issues that the NHS is trying to address in existing service provision:
- Demand is expected to increase by around 25% over the next five years so we need to increase capacity
- Surgery is cancelled too often and some patients wait too long for their procedure
- We are aiming to ensure a consistent high level of care, with specialist work undertaken only by those with the expertise to do so
Planning carried out locally, alongside national evidence, shows that consolidating orthopaedic surgery could address these challenges.
Dr Jonty Heaversedge, GP and chair of NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "These proposals are the result of several years of planning in south east London and take into account the views of many different people, including health care professionals and patient representatives.
“An increasingly elderly population means that demand for surgery, like hip and knee replacements, is going to increase – we think by around 25% – over the next five years. Services are already under immense pressure and simply won’t be able to cope with this additional demand. We have to find a solution for this.
“By bringing these operations together into two elective orthopaedic centres for south east London, we would be able to accept many more cases than we currently can, patients would have more certainty that their operation will go ahead, they will have a shorter stay in hospital and, perhaps most importantly, the evidence suggests they will have a better outcome from their surgery.”
The proposals are still at a formative stage and nothing has been decided yet. Before any changes could be made there would be a full public consultation, which could take place later in 2016.
Full details of the proposals are available online: www.ourheathiersel.nhs.uk.