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Flitwick
Saturday, 16 October 2021

Bedfordshire hospitals introduce new technology to battle patient backlog

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More patients will be treated each week at Bedford and Luton hospitals through new technology that will help make maximum use of their operating theatres, while ensuring patients still receive the best possible care.

The new technology will give clinicians at Bedford and Luton hospitals an accurate view of future theatre booking slots and the surgeons booked in, enabling them to plan more operations that will result in an extra 36 patients being treated every week by the two hospitals.

The new system has been secured as part of the national £160m accelerator initiative to help tackle backlogs and increase capacity for elective care.

Chris Elliott, general manager of anaesthetics, clinical care and theatres at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Thanks to this additional funding and the hard work of clinical staff, we are able to do even more to make sure patients have the shortest waiting times as possible across BLMK.

“Innovations in theatre bookings like this are a great example of work being done to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on elective care and helps us to treat more patients.

“We still have a long way to go towards full recovery but these changes will make a big difference.”

Another similar innovation is the Versius Surgical Robotic System which was unveiled at Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH) earlier this year.

The Trust became the first in Europe to use the system for major gynaecological surgery, including complex cancer cases.

Surgical robots enable a much wider uptake of keyhole surgery, with faster recovery times, less time in hospital and reduced risk of infection.

Nidhi Singh, consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at MKUH, said:

“It’s great to see new technologies coming into the NHS and Versius represents a massive step forward in making minimal access surgery (MAS) accessible to many more patients.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the positive impact the robot has on our patient waiting lists and the length patients have to stay in hospital before safe discharge.”

Dr Sarah Whiteman, local GP and clinical chair at BLMK Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“The NHS has been through its biggest crisis in its 73-year history and seen the biggest changes I have ever known. My colleagues and I want to help everyone who needs us, in the best way we can.

“We know that too many people are waiting for treatment after so much disruption and we are sorry for that.

“Please do be reassured that teams are working as hard as possible across the system to get treatments back up and running with the Trusts, introducing new technology and processes to reduce patient waiting lists.

“Residents can help by cancelling their appointments at the earliest convenience if they need to. This will open up valuable time that clinicians can offer to the next patient on the list.

“We know it can be stressful and worrying to have to wait but NHS staff are working hard to get you the care you need and they deserve to do this without fear of abuse, harassment or violence. They are here to help you, so please treat them with respect.

“The NHS has a zero-tolerance approach to protect the workforce against deliberate violence and aggression from patients, their families and the public, and to ensure offenders are punished quickly and effectively.”

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John Guinn
I am the editor of The Flitwick Chronicle. This is an independent, local news service based in Bedfordshire. The Chronicle provides local news that is investigative, inclusive and relevant to the residents of Flitwick.

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