Vanguard Healthcare Solutions has created an innovative theatre ‘hub’ dedicated to cataract surgery.
The rapid-installation modular facility recently opened its doors to patients as part of an initiative by Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Newcastle Westgate Cataract Centre is a three-theatre, purpose-built clinical facility which will perform up to 1,000 cataract procedures a month, almost double the number undertaken before the Coronavirus pandemic.
The modular structure was created bespoke by Vanguard for the trust and has been streamlined to ensure that patients do not have to wait, meaning each patient will spend between just 40 minutes to an hour in the unit rather than the usual time of about three hours.
Personalised care is provided throughout by a dedicated nurse who checks in the patient and remains with them throughout their journey.
The patient sits in a special chair and is wheeled into theatre for their day case procedure.
To build a solution of this scale and scope using traditional construction methods would have taken around two years to complete. But this build, end to end from conception to completion and including commissioning, has taken just seven months
After being given information on aftercare, their nurse will escort them to their waiting transport just outside the centre.
The hub will operate five days a week.
To find the best solution, the ophthalmology team worked closely with estates colleagues and Vanguard, drawing up plans to secure a £7m investment for the state-of-the-art theatre centre on the Campus for Ageing and Vitality site.
As well as its three theatres, the stand-alone and self-contained ophthalmic hub includes a reception, welfare areas, anaesthetic and recovery areas, four consultation rooms, and utility areas. /
Consultant ophthalmologist and clinical lead, Krishnamoorthy Narayanan, said: “Prior to the pandemic, all patients were seen at the Royal Victoria Infirmary and we were already seeing pressures on our waiting lists. Inevitably, waiting times have increased due to the pandemic.
“This is a very-distressing situation for patients as cataracts can have a significant impact on quality of life and independence.
“It has been very difficult for the team to tell patients and their doctors that we couldn’t offer them surgery as quickly as they would wish.
“When the centre is fully operational we expect to operate between 200-250 cataract cases every week.
“And, due to the unique design, there is no waiting involved, which is great for our patients.
This is a great example of transformational thinking to provide a much-swifter service with a clear focus on patient care and experience
“Appointment times are staggered so while we are seeing high patient numbers, their safety has been foremost when planning this service.
Simon Squirrell, national sales manager at Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, added: “To build a solution of this scale and scope using traditional construction methods would have taken around two years to complete. But this build, end to end from conception to completion and including commissioning, has taken just seven months.
“We’re delighted that we have been able to create a solution which will help so many people receive these essential procedures in an environment of clinical excellence.”
And trust chief executive, Dame Jackie Daniel, said: “It’s fantastic that we can safely offer so many more patients the chance to have this important surgery and I am incredibly proud of the adaptability and creativity of the teams who have worked so hard to achieve this.
“This is a great example of transformational thinking to provide a much-swifter service with a clear focus on patient care and experience.
“It’s a model which I’m certain will be rolled out across the wider NHS.”