The Welsh Government has agreed funding of up to £29.4m for a new Orthopaedic hub at Llandudno Hospital to help reduce orthopaedic waiting times.
The new hub will transform elective orthopaedic services at Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board and provide benefits for patients, staff and the wider North Wales community, by delivering a planned 1,900 procedures a year.
Specializing in high volume, low complexity care, the dedicated hub will increase annual surgical activity. by providing orthopaedic services away from hospitals, it will reduce the effects unscheduled care can have on elective treatment and reduce the chance of surgeries being postponed.
The funding from Welsh Government will refurbish a vacant ward at Llandudno hospital to create 19 extra bed spaces, two new theatres and an eight bed enhanced recovery / Post-Anaesthetic Care unit.
Work at Llandudno hospital will start in February 2024 with the expectation that the hub will be operating at full capacity in early 2025. Elective Orthopaedic services will continue at Abergele Hospital until the new hub is built.
Once the hub is operational, patients who need an orthopaedic procedure that require a short stay in hospital could be offered their surgery at Llandudno. Patients will still be able to choose to have their surgery at their nearest general hospital if they wish.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan said:
This new orthopaedic hub will be of huge benefit to the people of North Wales and the health board. People with orthopaedic concerns often have the longest wait for treatment. This investment was made because clinicians had demonstrated their commitment to increasing productivity levels in orthopaedics in Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board. This progress needs to be maintained and a dedicated hub will help further reduce the time people need to wait for treatment and maintain the increase of the numbers in patients treated. As well as improving patient outcomes I hope it will help the health board to attract and retain staff and I look forward to the opening of this new facility.
Carol Shillabeer, Chief Executive at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said:
We are delighted that Welsh Government has approved our proposal as this new Orthopaedic Elective Hub at Llandudno Hospital will make a real difference to the people of North Wales and help us to secure a facility for that will be protected from emergency pressures.
We believe that a dedicated orthopaedic hub will help us increase our capacity for orthopaedic surgery and greatly assist in reducing waiting times for people in communities across North Wales.
We would like to thank all colleagues who have been involved in bringing this business case together and we look forward to seeing the development begin in the New Year.
Mr Madhusudhan Raghavendra, Clinical and Network Lead for Orthopaedics in the Central area of the Health Board and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon said:
This announcement is a really positive step in our plans to improve orthopaedic care across North Wales.
Bringing together skills and expertise of staff under one roof will not only reduce waiting lists for orthopaedic patients, it also means we can free up space in the main hospital so other patients, needing other types of treatment or emergency care can benefit, cutting waiting times for them too.
We have seen the benefits of these types of hubs across the UK, and have already witnessed the benefits of this type of joint working through our project at Abergele Hospital.
As well as the benefits for our patients, having a hub such as this in North Wales will help us attract high quality healthcare professionals so we are very much looking forward to seeing the work begin and treating our first patients in the hub towards the end of next year.