Health bosses are planning to reduce the number of hospital sites offering adult orthopaedic surgery within south east London from seven to two, as a way to cope with burgeoning demand.
As we report on page 11 this week, Dr Jonty Heaversedge, a GP and chair of NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has said that bringing planned operations together into two orthopaedic centres for the area would provide many benefits for patients.
He told the News:?“By bringing these operations together into two elective orthopaedic centres for south east London, we would be able to accept many more cases than we currently can, patients would have more certainty that their operation will go ahead, they will have a shorter stay in hospital and, perhaps most importantly, the evidence suggests they will have a better outcome from their surgery.”
The two centres would have dedicated operating theatres and ring-fenced beds, which all orthopaedic consultants would use to carry out operations.
Other orthopaedic care, such as emergency and outpatient appointments will still continue at existing hospital sites – the proposals only concern planned operations.
While we’re not here arguing with the rationale for the proposals, we do urge readers to get involved in the consultation process on where the two orthopaedic centres would be based.
The NHS has provided six options; configurations of hospitals that could work as the orthopaedic centres. They are;
- Configuration 1: Guy’s Hospital and University Hospital Lewisham
- Configuration 2: Guy’s Hospital and Orpington Hospital
- Configuration 3: Guy’s Hospital and Queen Mary’s, Sidcup
- Configuration 4: University Hospital Lewisham and Orpington Hospital
- Configuration 5: University Hospital Lewisham and Queen Mary’s, Sidcup
- Configuration 6: Orpington Hospital and Queen Mary’s, Sidcup.
All but one of the options have one centre in London, but this means there’s a one in six chance that both centres could be in Kent – Orpington and Sidcup hospitals.
So it’s important that people have their say during the consultation period, as if the last option is the one chosen, it means anyone from the borough needing planned orthopaedic surgery will have to have it carried out in Kent.
We hope one of the other options is chosen, so that patients from Southwark have easier access.
To find out more, full details of the proposals can be seen at www.ourheathiersel.nhs.uk.