Further Planned Surgery to Resume at RJAH as Trauma Services set to Return to Partners

21 August 2020 11:54am

Issued by The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital:

Further planned surgery is set to resume at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH), with trauma services returning to health system partners next week.

The changes are being made in line with national guidelines and as the country moves into the third phase of the NHS’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local health system partners have agreed that from Monday, 24 August, the orthopaedic trauma service for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin will return to The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH).

This announcement represents the next step towards restoring routine services since all non-emergency elective work was suspended in late March. RJAH took on trauma work at this point – a move which helped the major acute care providers free up capacity to receive more COVID-19 patients.

The specialist orthopaedic hospital in Oswestry began re-introducing some planned surgery for the most urgent patients in June, with capacity for around 250 patients a month.

The return of trauma services to their usual providers will free up more capacity, with the Trust planning to run up to 630 cases through its theatres next month and as many as 870 a month by later in the year, a figure that represents more than 80% of pre-COVID activity levels.

Stacey Keegan, Acting Chief Executive at RJAH, said: "Bringing the trauma services across from SaTH and our Welsh partners at Betsi Cadwaladr has been a significant contribution to the local health system’s COVID-19 response, and is something we are extremely proud of.

"It’s crucial for us to now look ahead, as we wouldn’t be able to resume more of our regular orthopaedic work without the return of trauma services to partners.

"We will seize this opportunity to significantly step up our planned surgery activity, offering relief to hundreds of people who have been forced to wait months for operations that will significantly improve their quality of life.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all colleagues, who have been a part of this work, including those who are part of the Trauma Repatriation Group, which has been set up to oversee the safe return of trauma services.”

Nigel Lee, Chief Operating Officer at SaTH, said: “We are grateful for the support from RJAH in helping to provide essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will continue to work closely together to provide safe services for our patients.”

Dr Julian Povey, Chair of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCGs, said: "This is an example of the partnership working that has been in place since March to deal with the impact of coronavirus.

“The move back to SaTH marks a step in resuming services.” 

The changes come as the NHS nationally focus on stepping up their ‘business as usual’ activity. Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, sent a letter to all NHS and Foundation Trusts across the country earlier this month, urging them to recover the maximum elective activity possible between now and winter.

Stacey added: “We will be contacting patients as soon as possible about future treatment arrangements, so you do not need to contact us about your surgery.

“If your symptoms related to your condition become worse and you have not heard from us, contact the consultant whose care you are under. Alternatively contact your GP for advice.”