Increasing surgical capacity with new standalone orthopaedic centre

A major project to increase surgical capacity at our Trust has been announced with plans to create a new £11m standalone orthopaedic elective centre.

The new Norfolk and Norwich Orthopaedic Centre will see the creation of two new laminar flow theatres and a 21-bedded ward and will provide our Trust with a much-needed standalone and Covid-secure elective surgical facility.

The complex, which will result in the repurposing and relocation of activity in the Aylsham Suite, will carry out around 2,500 orthopaedic cases a year for patients who need ankle, foot, hip, knee or shoulder operations.

Subject to successful planning approval, groundworks are due to begin later this autumn with plans to start treating the first patients in the new centre in summer 2022 following a recruitment process.

Over recent years, the Trust has managed an increased demand for surgical care through the development of a new ambulatory procedures unit, new Paediatric Theatre Complex, improvements in utilisation of existing capacity and using the independent sector. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the number of patients waiting for routine and elective care.

The project is a £11.4m capital investment and the N&N Hospitals Charity is committed to fundraising £2m for equipment for the centre. This would be the largest grant ever provided by the hospital charity, which will provide benefits for the local community for many years to come.

Tim Leary, Chief of Surgery, said: “This is an extremely exciting development, which will increase our elective bed base and reduce waiting times through a dedicated and specialised orthopaedic facility. Trust pressures have resulted in the cancellation of orthopaedic procedures in the past and this new centre will mean that we can reduce cancellations and continue elective work throughout winter and pandemic pressures. We will be implementing a full elective care recruitment strategy to get the new centre operational as soon as possible.”

The Aylsham Suite site was chosen as the preferred way forward to create a standalone theatre complex that is close to the main hospital site.

Sam Higginson, NNUH Chief Executive, added: “Creating a standalone orthopaedic centre will provide a safe, effective, integrated and efficient service which will improve patient experience and provides a solution that is operationally and financially efficient to NNUH and the wider system. This is in line with best practice prescribed by the NHS and other bodies as the most effective way to tackling long waiting lists.”