Our vision is a centre of excellence
Column by Richard James, General manager for general surgery, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Over the past month, the Trust’s pilot project to transform orthopaedic surgery across the county has been progressing well.
The aim is to improve the experience for patients by dramatically reducing the number of cancelled operations. Last year we had 900 patients having their orthopaedic operations cancelled. We have been learning from some of the top performing trusts in the country who are able to offer a better service by separating their planned and emergency orthopaedic surgery.
Lincolnshire’s hospitals have been struggling to meet demand. The pilot sees all United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s sites working together, with each one focussing on elements of care that will help to improve the overall patient experience. In the first five weeks of the trial, we have only had one cancellation which is already a massive improvement.
This is a really exciting time for the Trust. If the pilot is a success, our vision is to make Grantham and District Hospital an orthopaedic centre of excellence and secure a multi-million pound investment in theatres, with bold visions to make it one of the top performing hospitals in the country for joint replacements.
We have listened and responded to public opinion gathered during recent engagement sessions, where the vast majority of people said they would be happy to travel to a centre of excellence for their planned operations as long as they could still have their other pre and post-operative care locally. Which is exactly what this project enables us to do.
It is also good news for emergency patients at all of our hospitals. By managing all of our routine elective surgery at Grantham and almost doubling our day cases at Louth it means that we will be in a better position to manage emergency cases at Lincoln, Grantham and Boston.
It will enable us to get patients into our theatres sooner and free up beds in A&E. At the end of the pilot we will be able to take stock and look at how things have gone before deciding on the next steps.
This is an exciting plan with big ambitions to provide our patients with the first class service that we want and know we can deliver, and more importantly it is the level of service that they deserve.