Plans for £49.9 m elective facility at Bristol’s Southmead approved

The Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England have approved plans for a new £49.9 million Elective Care Centre at Southmead Hospital, Bristol, which will provide capacity for an additional 6,500 operations to be carried out annually.

The new centre will benefit patients across Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) and is planned to open in Spring 2025, and will provide additional capacity for North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) to support each Trust’s elective (planned care) recovery plans.

The standalone facility will feature four surgical theatres and 40 beds for patients to recover, as well as 12 medirooms (where patients prepare for, and recover from, surgery) and X-ray facilities, and will mainly be used for orthopaedic procedures. The additional capacity will also enable more patients to be seen in existing theatres sooner for a range of other specialties. The centre will bring together the skills and expertise of staff under one roof, reducing waiting times for some of the most common procedures, such as hip and knee replacements.

Professor Tim Whittlestone, Chief Medical Officer at NBT, said: “The centre will provide capacity for an additional 6,500 operations a year to be carried out.”

Stuart Walker, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at UHBW, said: “We welcome the very positive news that the new Elective Centre has been given approval, meaning more people in our local area will get access to quicker, high-quality care. Our organisations are working together to develop plans to ensure there are mutual benefits for both Trust’s services, so that more people can be cared for as quickly as possible. The Elective Centre will support both Trusts to reduce waiting times for elective procedures, and will be a welcome addition to patients across Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire from Spring 2025.”

There are 94 established elective surgical hubs across the NHS in England. In addition, 37 new hubs have been approved for development through the national Targeted Investment Fund (TIF) process, including the Elective Centre in Bristol.

The centre is just one of the ways the NHS in BNSSG is working to reduce waiting times for patients. Other initiatives have included additional clinics at weekends, the creation of a new ward to support the discharge of patients, and more than 30 ring-fenced beds for planned procedures.

NHS Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board (ICB) Director of Performance and Delivery, Lisa Manson, said: “Tackling the planned care backlog that built up during the pandemic remains a high priority for our health and care system, and we are working hard to reduce the number of people who experience longer waits for treatment. We are making good progress, and the new elective care centre for our area will provide a significant boost to our plans, with the capacity to deliver thousands more operations each year.”

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