The Greater Manchester Elective Reform Programme, through the GM Provider Federation Board, which brings together health providers across the region worked together with Vanguard, one of the UK’s leading medical technology companies, to create the innovative suite. Designed bespoke to meet the Alliance’s specific needs, it includes a Vanguard mobile laminar flow theatre with two procedure rooms which has been seamlessly integrated with a multi-room bespoke temporary modular building, also created by Vanguard.

As well as the two procedure rooms, the suite, which is set separately to the main hospital building, also includes a six bed recovery bay, two consultation rooms and full staff and patient facilities. The unit has been specially commissioned by Greater Manchester Provider Federation Board to support the delivery of endoscopy services across Greater Manchester following the pandemic disruption.

To assist the Trust to staff the unit, Vanguard provide a unit facilitator while 18 Week Support, the UK’s largest clinical insourcing healthcare provider, have provided eight specialist endoscopy nurses and two clinical consultants to deliver all patient endoscopy procedures and ensure the unit is fully operational seven days a week. Reception and porter services are provided by the Trust.

During its first six months the unit has been supporting patients from hospitals across four Trusts including Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. Procedures carried out include full colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and gastroscopy. On average, each day’s list accumulates around 48 to 52 JAG points and lists are run on a single-gender basis daily.

The project has been such a success that the initial six-month contract has been extended for a further six months with the unit now due to remain on site until the end of 2021.

Asia Bibi, Programme Manager at the Greater Manchester Elective Reform Programme, who has been overseeing the project, said: “A number of NHS partners have been working together to support the recovery of services as a region and this is one of the first projects to provide access for all regional patients. I am pleased at the pace we have been able to set this up in order to restore services for our patients.

“Furthermore, waiting times for an endoscopic procedures have reduced considerably as a result of the project.”

Simon Conroy, National Endoscopy Sales Manager at Vanguard, said: “Feedback from patients and staff at the unit has been incredibly positive.

“Many of the patients the unit is seeing are having surveillance procedures and are, of course, very relieved and grateful to have their appointments. Staff tell us it’s a light, bright, spacious and well-equipped environment to work in and even that the unit provides more spacious than standard endoscopy procedure rooms and recovery areas.

“We’ve been delighted to work with the GM Elective Reform Programme and 18 Week Support to deliver this really important project, and that we will continue to be part of the team delivering essential patient care for another six months on site at Fairfield General Hospital.”

Matt Marshall of 18 Week Support said: “This is an innovative project which is helping the Trust significantly increase the number of their patients that are seen by specialist clinicians, delivering significant reductions in waiting lists and improving health outcomes. Using a mobile unit separate to the main hospital building minimises disruption and ensures patients can continue to be seen in a place where they are accustomed to receiving their care. The patient feedback we have had has been excellent, with patients telling us the treatment and care they have received has been overwhelmingly ‘very good’.”

“We are pleased to be part of the team alongside Northern Care Alliance and Vanguard and helping reduce waiting times for these important procedures.”