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Thousands More Patients in the West Midlands To Benefit From Major NHS Surgical Capacity Boost
Thousands more patients in the West Midlands will benefit from NHS treatment by next year thanks to new surgical spaces, the NHS announced today.
As part of the biggest and most ambitious catch-up plan in NHS history, an estimated 15,945 additional surgeries and 26,034 additional outpatient appointment will be provided at new surgical hubs, expanded existing hubs and new theatres dedicated to elective care in the West Midlands.
It comes on the one year anniversary of the Elective Recovery Plan – since then, staff have virtually eliminated two-year waits for care while December saw the backlog go down for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
Surgical hubs are separated from emergency services in hospitals meaning tests and operations can continue in one place, largely unaffected by increased pressure in other parts of the hospital, such as covid and flu.
The Targeted Investment Fund (TIF) will provide almost 600 new beds (584) specifically for elective care, dozens of elective theatres which will deliver state-of-the-art treatment and nearly 90 more critical care beds across the country (87).
Since the elective recovery was published last year, the NHS has performed almost 120 million diagnostic tests – 6% higher than in the same period last year – and offered 13.5 million elective appointments and treatments – 9% higher than in the same period last year.
The additional investment in elective recovery through the 2021 Spending Review will enable year-on-year increases in activity with thousands of additional people in the West Midlands potentially being treated by 2024/25.
The major boost will help bring down waiting times for patients in the West Midlands and generally allow more patients to be discharged on the same day as their surgery due to investment in dedicated day-case units.
NHS Midlands Medical Director Jessica Sokolov said: “In the Midlands we are determined to make the best possible use of the additional investment to address the backlogs and provide timely, expert care to as many people as possible.
“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff the NHS delivered the first milestone in our Elective Recovery Plan, remain on track to hit our next target by April, and have reduced the overall waiting list for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
“Continuing to expand elective capacity across the Midlands will ensure the waiting list continues to go in the right direction as the number of tests, operations and appointments increases across the region.
“As ever patients should continue to come forward for care when they need it – using 999 and A&E in an emergency and NHS 111 Online otherwise.”
The elective surgical hub at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust’s Cannock Chase Hospital has been treating patients since 2014.
Elective activity at the hub has increased significantly in recent years, with up to 50% more orthopaedic work undertaken.
Enabling work has started on the site to increase the number of theatres from 7 to 11, which subject to approval will be complete in 2024.
The additional capacity will focus on orthopaedics allowing the team to see more people and reduce waiting times for procedures in an improved environment with state-of-the-art facilities.
The new capacity delivered by the funding is part of an NHS commitment to increase elective activity by 30% on pre-pandemic levels by 2024/25, including offering patients faster clinical advice, as set out in the elective recovery plan.