11 September 2019
East Kent Hospitals is investing in new operating theatres and further dedicated beds at Kent and Canterbury Hospital to treat more patients needing orthopaedic care, such as hip and knee operations, sooner.
This is part of an exciting national NHS pilot led, part of the Getting it Right First Time programme, announced last summer which aims to demonstrate that carrying out planned orthopaedic operations at a separate hospital to emergency operations, benefits both sets of patients.
Where these changes have already started, both within east Kent and elsewhere in the country, waiting times have reduced and fewer operations have been cancelled.
Since last November, patients previously treated at William Harvey Hospital have had their planned hip and knee replacements in dedicated facilities at Kent and Canterbury Hospital as part of the first stage of the pilot. As a result, over 500 patients have had their joint replacement operations sooner.
This first stage of the pilot freed up operating theatres at William Harvey Hospital, resulting in more than 1,000 patients having trauma, gynaecology and general surgical operations sooner. It also released an extra ward for patients with medical emergencies, helping to improve care for frail elderly patients and reducing waits in A&E.
The new investment will extend these improvements at William Harvey Hospital but will also bring significant benefits for patients at QEQM Hospital by freeing up operating theatres to treat more patients needing cancer surgery and trauma operations sooner, such as fractures sustained from a fall.
The investment will also help the Trust develop plans to improve care for frail patients and treat patients with medical emergencies sooner at both hospitals.
New operating theatres
Work to build four new operating theatres at Kent and Canterbury Hospital will start early next year so that by Spring 2021 all patients needing planned orthopaedic inpatient operations in east Kent will be treated in new and improved facilities at the hospital.
Patients will continue to have day operations and care before and after an inpatient operation at their local hospital, including tests and scans, pre-op and follow up appointments. Emergency patients will continue to be treated at William Harvey and QEQM hospitals as now, for example, for fractures sustained in a fall.
Martin Prime, from Dover, who had a hip replacement at Kent and Canterbury Hospital recently, said his whole experience had been fantastic.
He said: “I came in to hospital on the morning of the operation and was back on the ward after lunch. The staff were wonderful: the anaesthetist had a great sense of humour, the post-op staff were brilliant and the ward team have been excellent.”
“I think it’s a brilliant pilot and I’d say it’s definitely achieving its aims. It makes sense to have the emergencies at other hospitals and it means there will be fewer cancellations.”
Nearly 99 per cent of patients undergoing joint replacements at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital this year said they would recommend the service to their friends and family.
Susan Acott, Chief Executive for East Kent Hospitals said: “We are delighted to be chosen to participate in this national pilot and see the difference it’s already making for patients.
“By investing in new operating theatres and further dedicated beds at Kent and Canterbury Hospital we will be able to treat even more patients needing operations sooner at all hospitals in east Kent.”