We’re leading the way in reducing the time you’ll wait for treatment

Theatre staffWe’re proud our Trust is leading the way nationally in reducing waiting times for our patients to get the treatment they need. The pandemic provided the impetus for our teams to innovate and change and their work has been endorsed by senior people in the NHS and at The Royal College of Surgeons. It has also featured in the NHS’s plan to tackle backlogs; on the flagship television news bulletins of the BBC and ITV; and in this blog for NHS Providers.

From super-clinics in the evening and weekends through to state-of-the art diagnostic equipment and streamlining the way we work, our staff are turning what they learnt from Covid-19 into what they do each day as they tackle the backlog. We carried out more than 12,000 surgeries in 2021 in our Covid secure ‘green zone’ at King George Hospital. In the same year, we completed more than 100,000 CT and MRI scans.

Others in the NHS have been in touch to learn from us, and we are one of the best performing trusts in London when it comes to the delivery of high volume, low complexity surgery.

We’ve seen the number of patients waiting more than a year reduce from 2,430 at the end of March 2021 to 959 by the end of December. Our teams have thrived on mutual respect, visible leadership and a shared determination to deliver for our patients.

Our Covid secure ‘green zone’ at King George Hospital

This hospital within a hospital is one of our greatest assets. The importance of our focus on maintaining surgery in our ‘green zone’ is borne out by the fact three out of every five of our surgical admissions (via A&E) were on a waiting list of some kind. It’s where we are focusing on the six specialties that make up 50 per cent of our waiting lists - general surgery, ENT (ear, nose and throat) trauma and orthopaedics, ophthalmology, urology, and gynaecology. 

It has enabled us to keep surgical beds free for patients waiting for their planned care, instead of being used for emergency cases which has often been the case in the past. This winter was the first time in four years that our full list of cancer operations has taken place.

Here’s just a few of the highlights

Bones Project - we carried out 135 hip and knee replacements in seven days and one person went home on the day of their operation after having had their hip replaced. The number of patients who failed to turn up on the day significantly reduced because the orthopaedic surgeon who was conducting their operation rang them on the day before.

Scalpel Project - our General Surgery team held six special Saturday clinics, and saw more than 1,000 patients - one of whom was a 103-year-old woman whose treatment had been delayed by Covid-19.   

Back2Backs – our spinal review clinic helped prepare patients in need of surgery. 119 patients were seen on the day. The clinic boasted a one-stop-shop to get patients ready for their procedure.

ENT Kidz - a series of weekend ear, nose and throat (ENT) super clinics for our young patients.

prEYEority week -  980 patients were seen over just five days and the department has kept the waiting time – from listing to surgery – to less than two months.

Gastronaught project - brought together clinical and administrative teams to review 636 patients not yet booked for appointment. 51 per cent of them were either redirected or discharged and all the others were booked to be seen or had investigations planned.

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