Innovative work to reduce waiting lists praised by leading doctor

For months now our staff have been working hard, often at weekends, to tackle the backlogs caused by Covid-19. We are one of the best performing trusts in London when it comes to the delivery of high volume, low complexity surgery. Others in the NHS are keen to learn from us. 

We were delighted to host Professor Neil Mortensen, President of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, for a visit that he said had been “inspiring”. He joined NHS England Diagnostic Programme Director Louise Dark, our Chair Jacqui Smith, our Chief Executive Matthew Trainer and senior surgical colleagues on Wednesday 8 December for a tour of our Covid-protected green Elective hub. 

Professor Neil Mortensen with clinicans

We also showcased the ‘super’ clinics we’ve delivered in recent months, which has seen the number of patients waiting more than 52 weeks for treatment slashed from 1,938 in April 2021 to below 1,000 in October.

We have one of the lowest number of patients waiting more than 52 weeks on our admitted pathway and we remain on track to reduce to zero by the middle of next year.

Professor Neil Mortensen said: “Thank you for welcoming me and educating me, I’ve learnt so much. What I’ve seen on this visit is inspiring and the energy of the surgical team is infectious. I’m full of admiration for you all.”

Our dedicated ‘super’ clinics have seen resources maximised to carry out a large number of appointments and procedures, over a short period of time, including the weekend.

Examples include PrEYEority, where Ophthalmology saw 980 patients in seven days, compared to 450 in a standard week, and Theatres 3.0, where we operated on 32 skin cancer patients in just one day, which is triple the number of people usually seen.

We’ve also used our capacity to treat Barts Health patients more quickly, which has included ultrasound scans, endoscopies and surgery.

We are above the national average for theatre productivity and turnover times and throughout the visit, Neil spoke with a number of colleagues to learn about the way we’ve worked since the start of the pandemic.

Professor Neil Mortensen during his visit to King George Hospital

Thangadorai Amalesh, Divisional Director for Surgery, said: “We were seeing referral numbers like never before and unless we separated emergency and elective service pathways, we knew we would face big problems.

“I’m very proud of the initiatives introduced by my surgical colleagues and I, but it’s working together which has made the difference. Clinical leadership, operational ownership and Executive support – working in partnership is how we’ve tackled waiting lists. We have felt very empowered to make a difference.”

Matthew Trainer, Chief Executive, was full of praise for the impact our Surgery Division has had in recent months. He said: “The drive, leadership and urgency shown by surgery colleagues to reduce waits for our patients is very impressive.

“As a Trust, we are tremendously proud of the team for their continued hard work in support of our patients and for each other.”

Chair Jacqui Smith and Chief Executive Matthew Trainer with Professor Neil Mortensen

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