In their statement, the RCS are calling for the government to agree a ‘New Deal for Surgery’, which would include committing an additional £1bn for surgery every year for the next five years and creating ‘surgical hubs’ across the country and train more staff to reduce the elective surgery backlog.
The latest official NHS figures show that the NHS waiting list in England stands at 4.95 million people – the largest figure ever recorded – and that more than 400,000 people have waited more than a year compared with just 1,600 before the pandemic. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are facing similar pressures.
The RCS wants to see a network of around 40 centres, based at existing NHS sites, focused on carrying out non-urgent surgery such as hip and knee replacements, and are urging every Integrated Care System in England to identify at least one ‘surgical hub’ site where planned surgery can be protected during any further waves of Covid-19 and other events.
According to the RCS, this would help the country weather future pandemics. The idea is to reduce the risk of infections spreading from other parts of hospitals and achieve greater efficiency and better use of operating theatres by bringing specialist teams together under one roof.
However, resources are already stretched at many Trusts, and some may find it difficult to create COVID-light surgical hubs, which will receive high volumes of patients from across the region, using existing infrastructure without adding extra capacity or buildings. Many NHS Trusts are engaging the use of mobile and modular operating theatres, procedure rooms and wards which can be used to set up stand-alone surgical hubs at existing hospital sites, within a short timeframe to help meet this demand.
Read the full statement here: