Over 50 surgical hubs to be opened in UK to clear NHS backlog

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The facilities will provide more than 100 additional operating theatres and 1,000 beds to deliver two million more procedures by 2024-25. They will focus mainly on high volume, low complexity surgery including areas such as gynaecology, ear, nose and throat, and urology. Some 91 hubs have already been built on existing hospital sites to increase capacity.

Beds are kept separate from emergency services and main hospital buildings, reducing risk of cancellations and infection.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “We have already made progress in tackling the longest waiting lists…and these new surgical hubs will deliver additional operations over the next three years.”

More than 6.7 million patients are currently caught in the NHS treatment backlog. The waiting list already stood at around 4.4 million before the pandemic but the impact of
Covid has seen the queue grow to record levels.

The 50 new hubs, backed by £1.5billion in government funding, are expected to deliver 200,000 procedures this financial year, 700,000 in 2023-24, and one million in 2024-25.

Locations for the first 20 hubs include Colchester Hospital in Essex, St Thomas’ Hospital in London and Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge. Bids for the remaining hubs will be considered in the coming months.

Professor Neil Mortensen, president of The Royal College of Surgeons of England said: “This is excellent news.

“These new surgical hubs will help patients whose lives have effectively been in limbo while they wait months, or even years, for a planned operation. The aim is for no patient to wait more than 18 months by April of next year.”

A hub already in operation at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has increased surgical capacity by a quarter.

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