Improving patient care with redesigned plastic surgery service

A plastic surgery service for patients who suffer serious hand injuries has been transformed into an outpatient setting at NNUH during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 1,000 patients have received emergency and elective hand surgery without the need to be admitted to hospital or have a general anaesthetic.

Surgeons and anaesthetists at NNUH established the Norwich Hand Unit and regional anaesthesia service in the Vanguard theatre, which is part of the Day Procedure Unit, and have taken referrals from across the region throughout the Covid-19 lockdown.

Patients with serious hand injuries previously had to wait on an emergency assessment unit and receive surgery in main NNUH theatres.

As a result of this initiative, patients had their operation, on average, about eight hours earlier and the Trust will be maintaining the service for emergency and urgent cases during the ongoing pandemic.

Sam Norton, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at NNUH, said: “As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we came up with a plan to isolate this service from the main hospital, which has reduced the risk for patients and has changed our service for the better.

“It has been a positive step and has improved the patient journey by streamlining the service and has lowered infection risk for patients.”