Mobile healthcare solutions are helping a UK healthcare trust address patient waiting times in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April 2020, three trusts merged to become Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, an organisation whose group of hospitals provides a huge range of clinical services and care for a population of over 1.2 million people in central and south Essex. Prior to March 2020, these trusts had, through a number of effective measures, managed to reduce the number of people waiting over a year for an elective procedure down to fewer than 200.

Following the merger, and as a result of COVID-19 and the cancellation of elective procedures across all hospital trusts during the first period of lockdown, the newly formed Trust has seen waiting times increase again and as of March 2021, had more than 8,500 people who had been waiting for their procedure for over a year.

While the easing of restrictions, that number has begun to reduce, but the Trust wanted to do all it could to increase capacity. Part of that work is being undertaken alongside Vanguard Healthcare Solutions.

Vanguard is the UK’s leading medical technology company and provides a wide range of mobile and modular solutions for healthcare providers to help them increase capacity to provide essential patient care.

For an initial period of six months, Vanguard will be providing three different mobile solutions at three of the Trust’s hospitals, supporting different disciplines. At Broomfield Hospital a Vanguard visiting hospital will provide additional capacity for ophthalmology procedures, at Basildon University Hospital a mobile laminar flow theatre will support orthopaedics and at Southend Hospital a mobile theatre will be used for general surgery. As well as standard ophthalmology procedures, the unit at Broomfield will also host more complex ophthalmology operations.

Vanguard will also be supporting through the provision of a team of 16 staff across the three solutions. All three units will run at least five days a week, with Basildon expected to run seven days a week.

The Vanguard solutions being used by the Trust provide high quality clinical environments which are ground-breaking and innovative. They can be deployed completely separately from the hospital, or linked seamlessly as required.

Visiting hospitals include an operating theatre and ward, allowing for a complete patient pathway independent of the hospital’s estate. They include anaesthetic, operating theatre and first stage recovery room, reception/nurse station areas, HEPA-filtered environmental air and utility areas. All Vanguard mobile theatres also include anaesthesia and recovery areas, scrub area, changing rooms and HEPA-filtered environmental air.

Maxine Lawson, Account Manager South for Vanguard, said: “From our first site surveys in March, this has been a hugely exciting project to work on with the Trust, with logistical complexity both in delivery and staffing. We’re delighted that our mobile solutions will play a key role in helping the trust drive down waiting times, increase patient capacity and deliver essential patient care.”