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De Havilland unit- one year on

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Monday 30 October 2023

The de Havilland unit is a dedicated orthopaedic unit which opened in October 2022. It was opened to reduce the backlog of patients awaiting orthopaedic surgery and reduce postponements from limited bed availability and improve efficiency, length of stay and outcomes of surgery.

One year on, the ward has enabled 463 procedures including hip, knee, and shoulder replacements in the PEH. Without the dedicated elective beds on the unit, a number of these procedures would have been postponed due to significant pressure for beds in the hospital over the last year.

In September 2022, the waiting list for orthopaedic procedures was 805 (including private cases). This number included the additional pressure placed on the system due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the well documented demographic challenges.

The waiting list for an orthopaedic procedure as of 1 October 2023 was 885 patients (including private cases). During the last 12 months, 463 procedures have been carried out on the unit alongside a further 144 operations (mainly emergency) carried out from de Sausmarez ward. The fact that the waiting list continues to rise shows that demand is ever increasing in this area of medicine.

Dr Peter Rabey, Medical Director said:

'Having a dedicated elective unit for orthopaedic procedures has enabled such a large number of patients to be treated this year. While some elective surgery still runs the risk of postponement due to staffing issues, there is no doubt that the numbers of orthopaedic cases completed would have been far fewer in the absence of the dedicated unit.

'The multi-disciplinary team approach from pre-assessment to discharge has improved patient experience, reduced the average length of stay for joint surgery and has removed 463 patients off the orthopaedic waiting list.'

The average length of stay on de Havilland unit is two days. Pre-assessment clinics with patients means that staff can explain what their procedure will entail, what to expect when on the unit and how patients are enabled to get home as quickly and safely as possible.

Mr George Cooper, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon said:

'The de Havilland unit has provided us with much needed ring-fenced beds for elective surgery within a specialist and dedicated unit. This is to reduce infection which can be very serious for orthopaedic patients and follows best practice in orthopaedic surgery to optimise outcomes. This also means that these beds cannot be used for other procedures in the hospital which means elective orthopaedic procedures can be prioritised.

'The team has spent the last year refining processes and procedures to maximise the experience for our patients. The Medical Specialist Group is really pleased with the numbers we have been able to see go through the unit in the last 12 months.

'Whilst the waiting list remains a huge challenge, this demonstrates a significant step to address the increasing demand until more theatre capacity is achieved, and I would like to thank all staff involved for their hard work and care.'

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