A PARTNERSHIP between the UK’s leading medical infrastructure provider and NHS Shetland will help hundreds of patients receive essential procedures delayed by the pandemic – including some which have never before been performed on the island.

A mobile laminar flow operating theatre from Vanguard Healthcare Solutions has been installed at Gilbert Bain Hospital. Over the next 12 weeks, the hospital estimates as many as 400 patients from across Shetland and Orkney will benefit from the cataract and ears, nose and throat procedures carried out on the facility. Additionally, for the first time ever, joint replacements will be performed in Shetland.

The facility is a mobile laminar flow theatre which, designed and built by Vanguard, provides an anaesthetic room, operating theatre, two-bed first-stage recovery area, staff changing room and utility areas. The laminar flow specification offers HEPA Filtered environmental air, conforming to Grade A EUGMP, with up to 600 air changes per hour passing over the patient, necessary for orthopaedic work. It is seamlessly connected to the main hospital building by a specially-constructed corridor.

The project is funded by the Scottish government and the mobile theatre has been provided in recognition that Northern Isles patients had been unable to travel for procedures during lockdown, resulting in a backlog of operations.

laminar flow operating theatre

NHS Shetland Acting Chief Nurse Amanda McDermott said the delays had harmed people’s quality of life and added: “Without the mobile theatre, people could have been left waiting years more for the procedures.”

Director of Nursing and Acute Services Kathleen Carolan is project lead for the mobile theatre. She said: “Six months of work has gone into preparing for the facility’s arrival and the project has involved a range of teams throughout NHS Shetland and partner organisations.

“Vanguard brought the facility to the Gilbert Bain last month. Since then, teams have been working to prepare for its first patients who were welcomed earlier this week.”

Clinical Contract Manager at Vanguard, Angela Prince, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside NHS Shetland and the team at Gilbert Bain to provide additional theatre capacity in this way and to help hundreds of patients to receive essential procedures.

“Since the facility arrived at the end of last month, work has been underway to commission it and its integration has been perfectly seamless. We’re thrilled that this facility will be playing an important role in helping people access potentially life-changing procedures more quickly. ”