Wigan hospital selected as specialist hub to help reduce waiting times for Greater Manchester patients

A Wigan hospital has been chosen as a hub for orthopaedic surgery for patients across Greater Manchester in a bid to cut waiting times.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 12:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 12:18 pm

NHS organisations across Greater Manchester are looking at ways to provide support for patients who are waiting for operations, surgery and hospital appointments, many of which were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of people waiting to start treatment is increasing, though the number waiting for more than 52 weeks has reduced. The three areas with the highest number of waits over 52 weeks are orthopaedics, general surgery and oral surgery.

Wrightington Hospital has now been chosen as Greater Manchester’s hub for orthopaedic surgery, with additional theatre sessions being held to reduce the backlog.

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Chief executive Silas Nicholls

The hospital is already internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for orthopaedic surgery and was recently chosen as a major revision centre for knee surgery.

It will be one of a number of hubs selected to provide specialist care and treatment to patients from across the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs.

Silas Nicholls, chief executive of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL), said: “This is excellent news for patients across Greater Manchester and will go a long way in helping WWL and the wider region to address waiting lists and provide people with the high-quality care they need.

“As an elective recovery hub, it is our intention to maintain our services throughout the year and our facilities will support this. We can ensure continuity for our patients and services, something we weren’t always able to do earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wrightington Hospital

“We are delighted to be playing our part in this collective effort and we appreciate that the last 18 months have been extremely difficult for people waiting for orthopaedic surgery, but as a dedicated service and site here at Wrightington, we are already making good progress in seeing as many people as possible, albeit this will continue to take some time.

“For patients from other boroughs who might not be familiar with Wrightington Hospital, we are a world-leading centre with a large capacity of 11 theatres and six wards. We employ more than 40 of the UK’s leading orthopaedic consultants, many of whom also have international reputations for surgical excellence. Wrightington is at the forefront of practice and we’re extremely proud of our exceptional medical and clinical staff.

“As part of the process of being a recovery hub, we are continually recruiting for a range of clinical staff to grow our workforce to be able to provide the level of care our patients deserve. We would welcome registered healthcare professionals or support workers who want to learn and develop within the speciality to contact us about the variety of roles we have available in our theatres, on our wards or as allied health professionals.”

The new hub is one of a series of things being done across Greater Manchester to help patients waiting for treatment.

The new While You Wait website launched this week to help patients manage their physical and mental well-being while waiting for hospital care.

Royal Manchester Children's Hospital has a new "walk in, walk out" model of surgery, to allow more children to receive ear, nose, throat and dental surgery.

Another orthopaedic hub will open at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, which is also holding "super Saturdays" to deliver extra hip and knee operations.

Community diagnostic centres are set to be created at Royal Oldham Hospital and Royal Bolton Hospital after national funding was secured, while an electronic referral service is allowing GPs to get advice from specialist colleagues and helping them identify when it is appropriate for patients to get support within the community, rather than needing a hospital appointment.

Dr Francis Andrews, co-chairman of the Greater Manchester elective care reform and recovery board and medical director at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges the NHS has ever faced. Over the last 18 months all healthcare staff have worked tirelessly to continue to provide the very best care and support they can to patients. However, the impact of coronavirus has seen waiting lists for treatment continue to grow and this is a situation we must address.

“We have accelerated work to tackle waiting times that was already underway before Covid-19 struck and introduced a number of new initiatives like our elective hubs. These hubs will operate six days a week and provide an additional 2,466 procedures by March 2022.”

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