North West surgical hubs set to increase hospital access and help backlog made worse by Covid-19

Video Report By Granada Reports Tasha Kacheri

A network of surgical hubs is being built across the North West that should increase hospital access and help with the extra backlog caused by the coronavirus Pandemic.

When finished it is estimated these surgical hubs will provide more than 137,800 additional procedures and appointments a year for North West patients waiting for treatment.

There will be 13 surgical hubs, which are scheduled to be up and fully running by 2024/25.

Some are already up and running like the one at the Wirral University Teaching Hospital called the Cheshire and Mersey elective surgical centre.

Richard Davis has already had his surgery here, he and his wife love to ballroom dance but for 20 years he's been quickstepping on painful toes.

Now he is pain-free thanks to elective surgery, Richard said "It was like having a pit stop in formula one.

"As I was going into theatre I was surrounded by a bunch of angels really and I just went out like a light, next thing I know I'm lying on the bed, all done, brilliant."

The hubs are separate from emergency services, which means surgical beds are kept free for patients waiting for planned operations. Credit: ITV NEWS

Surgical hubs have been introduced to help reduce the Covid-19 backlogs and offer patients quicker access to vital procedures.

The Pandemic has put more strain on the NHS than ever before with an estimated 7 million people across the country are now waiting for hospital treatments.

The hubs will focus on providing high volume low complexity surgery, focusing on ophthalmology, general surgery, trauma and orthopaedics (including spinal surgery), gynaecology, ear nose and throat, and urology.

The NHS says improving quality and efficiency will mean patients have shorter waits for surgery, will be more likely to go home on the same day, and will be less likely to need additional treatment after surgery.

The hubs are separate from emergency services, which means surgical beds are kept free for patients waiting for planned operations, this should reduce the risk of short-notice cancellations and improve infection control. 

Dr Michael Gregory is the regional medical director for NHS England North West and said: "NHS staff are working extremely hard to deliver the Elective Recovery Plan, the most ambitious catch-up programme in health service history, applying the same determination displayed throughout the pandemic to address backlogs in routine care and reduce long waits.  

"The surgical hubs provide a new way of working, as well as additional capacity, which will mean that we can continue to make progress with bringing down waiting times."

It's hoped that these new surgical hubs will take some of the strain off the NHS and help people to get the procedures they need to live a normal life.

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