Spotlight on: Mazen Jeha, Operations Manager for theatres

Mazen Jeha is looking after one of the most expensive and important services in our hospital: the 23 Operating Theatres.

His job is to ensure theatres are always properly booked and that the right staff and equipment for each operation are in place.

Mazen can be described like the air traffic controller of our theatres – behind the excellent care provided to patients are also his organisational skills.

“On average an hour in theatre costs the hospital £1,200 so it is important that we maximise their utilisation; we also don’t want patients having to wait for too long for their procedures. Making the most of our available spaces is the best way to do that,” said Mazen.

“It’s a fine balance, we don’t want our theatre lists to finish early but at the same time we need to protect our team and ensure they don’t overrun and finish too late at night.

“It’s part of my responsibility to ensure we have maintenance programmes in place for our equipment and that we have clear sight of our stock of consumables to ensure we have everything we need to keep the service running.”

Mazen’s background is in commercial operations and facilities management.

He was born in Saudi Arabia and moved to the UK when he was 10 years old.

After a stint working in the UAE he then returned to Norwich in 2017 to do an MBA at UEA and since December last year he’s applying his organisational skills to this new challenge.

“The aim is to plan the list of our operations as far ahead as we can. Typically, we like to confirm annual leave for key staff at the latest six week before any planned theatre session, allocate a surgeon and theatre team by four weeks out and have our patients booked and lists confirmed no later than two weeks out,” said Mazen.

“Of course, on the day, anything can happen, from patient and staff sickness to equipment malfunctions that mean we may have to adjust. Within theatres there is always a lot of thinking on your feet, but that’s the nature of healthcare.

“Using our tracker, we know roughly how long each operation should take, based on which surgeon is performing it, but things can change quickly on any given day depending on the conditions of a patient.

“My personal goal is to make sure that our theatres are always used as best we can and we’re getting closer to getting back to something that looks like normal operating, post pandemic.

“Working for the hospital has been really inspiring and rewarding – what I have seen from some of our colleagues in theatres is staggering and I am really in awe of their dedication and willingness to make things come together for our patients.

“Without them, what I do doesn’t mean much.”

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