The Need

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust was seeking to address a backlog of patients waiting for cataract surgery and required a solution which could be quickly deployed. The facility also had to be sited externally to the main hospital building.

Cataract surgery is the most-common procedure worldwide and, according to the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO), the number of people in the UK needing this operation is set to double by 2035.

The Plan

Vanguard Healthcare Solutions and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust have had a long-standing and positive relationship. The Trust had previously successfully used Vanguard endoscopy and ophthalmic solutions to help increase capacity and the plan was to use a Vanguard bespoke built standalone operating theatre as the core of a brand new ophthalmic ‘hub’.

The Bucks team planned to ‘kick-start’ the drive to reduce waiting lists in the hub with an intensive project to deliver 500 operations in just two weeks, with the longer-term aim of performing an additional 4,000 cataract operations in the subsequent 12 months and an additional 2,000 appointments for patients.

increasing ophthalmic capacity

The Vanguard Solution

The operating theatre was designed and installed by Vanguard and Alcon, who worked closely with the trust’s ophthalmology team to create a tailored solution for tackling the cataract surgery waiting list.

Vanguard created the bespoke ophthalmic hub which not only provided a mobile theatre environment for the trust’s clinical teams to perform cataract procedures, but also a self-contained patient reception and staff facilities, entirely tailored to meet the hospital’s needs.

The Outcome

The Trust’s ophthalmology team, using the Vanguard solution, was one the first NHS organisations in the country to resume surgery just weeks after the first government-instigated lockdown in 2020.

Each day the facility undertook an average of 10 procedures each morning and a further 10 each afternoon – on some occasions the number of procedures per day surpassed even that. For example. in one two week period, the team completed just over 400 cataract operations in just 10 days.

The facility and the support from Vanguard was widely praised by members of the Trust team.

John Abbott, Interim Divisional Director for Surgery and Critical Care at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust said: “The atmosphere and environment in the facility were second to none and the flexibility and professionalism shown by everyone across Vanguard was exemplary.

“Maxine Lawson, our Account Manager from Vanguard, and the rest of the team just couldn’t do more for us, they couldn’t be more accommodating.

“If I’m asked if I would recommend Vanguard as a provider for the NHS, I would say a resounding yes! The customer service, the flexibility, the professionalism – they are second to none.

A video of the facility can be viewed here.