Hartlepool's hospital trust sees huge fall in cancelled operations over winter pressures
A hospital trust saw a huge fall in cancelled operations over winter by changing schedules and utilising operating theatre facilities at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust cancelled just six operations during the recent winter period – a time notoriously fraught with high admissions for health care providers.
This compares against a 2018 figure of 109 cancellations during the same January period.
In January 2018, the pressures facing NHS trusts across the country were so vast that NHS England, the body that leads the NHS advised all trusts to cancel any elective surgery.
Chris Tulloch, deputy medical director said: "Cancellations at short notice can have huge impacts for patients and their families.
"Our trust is consistently intent on ensuring that our ‘patients first’ approach is delivered at all times.
"Faced with the stark reality of the impact of winter pressures on our communities, we recognised the need to do as we always strive to do – to innovative, to create positive change’."
In October and November 2018, the trust undertook additional theatre sessions in a bid to alleviate anticipated pressures.
By bringing forward the surgeries of patients who had been booked for treatment during the winter period, trust chiefs said they felt it would be in a positive position for the coming months.
Mr Tulloch added: "We benefit from having a second and very important site at Hartlepool.
"By moving our January 2019 theatre lists to this site, we were able to provide guaranteed admission for surgery – with the added bonus of improving our bed occupancy and theatre utilisation at University Hospital of Hartlepool."
Trust chiefs said they also planned for situations whereby when sessions at the Hartlepool site could not immediately be provided, converting theatre lists into outpatient clinic.
This ensured that patients were seen early on their journey to recovery, as well as a reducing patient waiting lists.
At the end of January 2019 North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust did not cancel any elective patients due to lack of beds or winter pressures.