Initial agreement on the development of an Orthopaedic Treatment Centre at Ashford Hospital has been reached with Capio Healthcare. The creation of independent sector treatment centres is a government initiative which featured as part of the ‘Shaping the Future of Local Healthcare’ consultation on services at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospital in the autumn and winter of 2003 and was approved by North Surrey and other PCTs in March 2004.

Independent Sector Treatment Centres (IS-TCs) provide elective (planned) treatments for a range of conditions, including hip and knee replacements. IS-TCs are dedicated and streamlined surgery units that offer NHS patients scheduled procedures at pre-booked times. Most operations are performed as day surgery, allowing patients to return home the same afternoon without the need for hospital admission. Hip and knee surgery requires short admissions of about five days. Being separate units they are protected from the pressure of emergency admissions and seasonal epidemics that lead to cancellations of surgical lists in other areas of the NHS.

Capio Healthcare is already working with the NHS on nine new Treatment Centres at Banbury, Bodmin, Boston, Gainsborough, Kettering, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Reading, Salisbury and York, jointly set up to treat 95,000 NHS patients between 2005 and 2010.

Under ‘Shaping the Future of Local Healthcare’ the majority of planned orthopaedic joint replacement surgery (e.g. hip/knee replacements) will be carried out at Ashford Hospital. By locating emergency trauma services on a different site to the majority of planned surgery the current problem that is faced daily of managing the conflicting priorities of providing prompt treatment for trauma cases and the need to treat more planned surgery to provide shorter waiting times is overcome.

This will minimise cancellations, giving patients more certainty about their operation dates. Focusing on one sort of surgery improves the quality and efficiency of the service and reduces the risk of complications. In addition, by separating orthopaedic surgery from medical emergencies, the risk of cross-infections (such as MRSA) is also reduced.

The Orthopaedic Treatment Centre at Ashford Hospital will provide services for 3,200 NHS patients from the Ashford and St. Peter’s catchment area as well as full outpatient services. In total the Centre will have capacity for 6,800 patients and thus Ashford Hospital is likely to see more patients than ever before.

The Heads of Agreement signed between Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust, North Surrey Primary Care Trust and Capio Healthcare provides in principle for Capio to lease and run over a five year period starting in March 2006 the following first floor areas at Ashford Hospital:

  • Dickens, Eliot and Fielding Wards;
  • Theatre 2, 4 and 5; and
  • some associated areas.

Once the final agreement is reached the work by Capio to convert the wards and upgrade theatres 2 and 4 will commence and will take about 6 months. Theatres 1 and 3 and all other areas of Ashford Hospital will continue to be run by Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust. Trust employed staff will be working in the Capio run services.

Jeremy Tozer, Treatment Centre Project Manager at Ashford and St. Peter’s commented: “It has taken a while for us to get to this stage but we are confident that this scheme will make the best use of the facilities available at Ashford Hospital, provide excellent services for patients and enable Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals to work in partnership with Capio Healthcare. We still have some way to go until the Treatment Centre opens its doors. Due to the building works we are making alternative arrangements for the treatment of some patients but we will try to minimise any inconvenience for patients and visitors during the coming months.”

Chris Leworthy, Director of NHS Partnerships for Capio, said: “We are pleased by this outline long term agreement under which Capio will be working in partnership with Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust and the local PCTs to deliver high quality, convenient clinical services to NHS patients in west Surrey.’’

As part of the ‘Shaping the Future of Local Healthcare’ programme refurbishment and redesign of other areas of Ashford Hospital has already started. In August Wordsworth Ward, which is currently temporarily located in Fielding Ward on the first floor, will return to the ground floor which has been redesigned and refurbished to fulfil its future role providing rehabilitation services. Work on other areas on the ground floor will start shortly and as the rolling programme of changes at Ashford Hospital takes place Wards and Departments are being moved around. At the end of September the Shakespeare Suite on the second floor will be used for both NHS and private patients resulting in a reduction in its capacity for private patients.


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