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“The Vanguard (clinical) team has been brilliant. They've integrated really well and because everyone knows each other and just having that environment where everyone sees each other so often, has made sure that that integration is seamless and fast. So, within a couple of days, really, it's become business as usual.” - Harkamal Heran, the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer
The Vanguard laminar flow operating theatre has been set up as a surgical hub for elective orthopaedic cases – not used for trauma or other specialities.
With South Warwickshire NHS FT enjoying a high position in the RTT (Referral to Treatment Times) league table, Trust Chief Executive, Glen Burley explained the rationale behind bringing in the Vanguard theatre, “Firstly, we've got capacity to help the rest of the NHS. Whilst we're very focused on keeping waiting times down as much as we can locally, there's a huge opportunity to improve waiting times in a lot of organizations around us. There's a number of trusts that have got some really long waits and their patients could come here quite easily for surgery.”
The mobile theatre has been positioned slightly away from the permanent surgical block. “We built a corridor right off the orthopaedic elective ward and it really does improve the patient journey. Patients can visualize where they're going, and that journey is just a lot more streamlined. Every micro gain that you can make in any kind of theatre pathway really adds to the productivity and the overall efficiency,” said Harkamal Heran, the trust’s Chief Operating Officer.
During the first four weeks, 81 surgical procedures were completed, demonstrating that four procedures a day is easily achievable and five per day is a realistic target. Achieving this high level of efficiency from the outset is a tribute to the surgical team, including the team of Vanguard Healthcare clinical staff.
The Vanguard theatre and clinical team are helping the trust perform procedures for patients from neighbouring trusts and to meet Payment by Results (PBR) targets. Particularly when used as surgical hub, the mobile theatre provides a good environment for training, and so, enables the Trust to address two of the NHS’s key challenges, reducing waiting times for elective surgery and training the consultants and clinicians of the future.
You can watch a conversation between Vanguard's CEO Chris Blackwell-Frost and Tim Robertson, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Warwick Hospital here, and a conversation Chris had with the trust's Chief Executive, Glen Burley, and Operations Director, Harkamal Heran, here.