Due to the need for healthcare services to respond to COVID-19, people waiting for planned operations and treatments are now waiting longer than before. Some patients are, unfortunately, now waiting in excess of two years.
You can see some of our waits for outpatient appointments and admissions here: https://www.plymouthhospitals.nhs.uk/appointment-and-admission-waits
Unfortunately, the effects of the pandemic are still causing pressure on our local hospitals with an exceptionally high demand for hospital beds. Some beds are needed for patients affected by COVID-19. We also have many patients who do not have COVID-19 but have complex medical problems which require hospital care.
Around 70% of our planned operations take place as day case procedures in our day surgery unit and these are still going ahead largely as planned.
In terms of patients who will need beds for post-operative medical support, we are, as you would expect, prioritising those patients needing surgery for cancer or other urgent treatment.
This means that waiting times for other operations and treatments have grown. We completely understand how distressing this situation is for people who are waiting. We know, from our regular conversations with you, that many of you are struggling with pain and loss of function.
Actions we are taking
We are taking every step we can to try and improve this situation. We have already built two new modular theatres at the side of Derriford Hospital to house our REI (Ophthalmology) Theatres. These have been relocated from level 7 of Derriford Hospital and the move vacates two existing theatres within the main building, creating capacity for additional theatre lists in other specialties to treat the most complex, longest waiting or highest clinical priority cases. Introducing two additional theatres is allowing us to treat around 200 additional patients each month.
We are also working with partners across the Devon system on medium-term plans to create additional theatre capacity.
Going forward, our plans to build a new Urgent and Emergency Care Centre include a further five theatres which we hope to have up and running by 2025.
Despite these measures, the majority of people will, however, have to wait longer than normal to receive their treatment. We are very sorry that we can’t give you more positive news yet, but please be assured that we are working very hard to resolve the situation. We will contact you direct when we are able to bring you in for treatment, but in the meantime, we have put in place additional support to help while you wait for treatment.
Staying in touch
Please be reassured that we have not forgotten about you. We want to see and treat you as soon as we possibly can. If you have questions or concerns, please get in touch via your specialty department.
The Team at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust