A partnership between one of the UK’s leading medical infrastructure providers and NHS Shetland will help hundreds of patients receive essential procedures delayed by the pandemic – including some never previously performed on the island.
A mobile laminar flow operating theatre from Vanguard Healthcare Solutions has been installed at Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick. Over the next 12 weeks, the hospital estimates as many as 400 patients from across Shetland and Orkney will benefit from the cataract and ear, nose and throat procedures undertaken on the unit. Additionally, for the first time ever, joint replacements will be performed in Shetland.
The mobile laminar flow theatre, designed and built by Vanguard, features an anaesthetic room, operating theatre, two-bed first-stage recovery area, staff changing room, and utility areas. The laminar flow specification offers HEPA-filtered environmental air, conforming to Grade A EUGMP, with up to 600 air changes per hour passing over the patient, necessary for orthopaedic work. It is seamlessly connected to the main hospital building by a specially-constructed corridor. The project was funded by the Scottish government, with the mobile theatre provided in recognition that Northern Isles patients had been unable to travel for procedures during lockdown, resulting in a backlog of operations.
NHS Shetland acting Chief Nurse, Amanda McDermott, said the delays had harmed people’s quality of life, adding: “Without the mobile theatre, people could have been left waiting years more for the procedures.” Director of Nursing and Acute Services Kathleen Carolan, the project lead for the mobile theatre, added: “Six months of work has gone into preparing for the facility’s arrival, and the project has involved a range of teams throughout NHS Shetland and partner organisations. Vanguard brought the facility to the Gilbert Bain last month, and since then teams have been working to prepare for its first patients who were welcomed earlier this week.”