New ‘elective care hub’ in St Albans to cut surgery waiting times for patients in Bishop’s Stortford, Sawbridgeworth and Stansted
Two new operating theatres are set to cut waiting times for patients in Bishop’s Stortford, Sawbridgeworth and Stansted who need hip and knee surgery, spinal injections and ear, nose and throat (ENT) procedures.
Following planning permission for the “elective hub” at St Albans City Hospital, which is 30 miles from Stortford, the next steps are for the design to be finalised and for the business case to be approved.
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board, Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust and West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have been working together on the project.
Elective care hubs are being created across the UK to improve access to planned surgery and non-complex procedures that can be delivered efficiently.
In common with the hub planned for St Albans, they are managed separately, away from emergency care, to protect planned activity from the surges and pressures that could lead to cancellations.
It is expected more than 4,000 patients will be treated at the St Albans hub in its first year, with the scope to increase capacity by adding another procedure suite later.
Patients will be assessed to determine whether they are suitable for the hub. Those who need more specialised care will be seen at their ‘home’ hospital: PAH in Harlow, Lister in Stevenage or Watford General. There will still be an option for patients who are deemed suitable for the hub to be treated at their local hospital.
Advances in surgery and anaesthetics, together with the focus on pre- and post-operative care at patients’ local hospitals, means that nearly half of those treated at the hub will be discharged home on the day of their procedure.
Marie Lyons, a consultant ENT surgeon at East and North Herts NHS Trust and also the clinical lead for the elective care hub, said: “Our hub is a partnership project and will draw on the best clinical practice across three hospital trusts to provide patients with a first-class service in modern buildings.”