A mobile theatre is helping Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust to address a backlog of patients waiting for cataract surgery.
Gloucester-based Vanguard Healthcare Solutions is working alongside the trust’s ophthalmology team, which was one the first NHS organisations in the country to resume surgery just weeks after the first government-instigated lockdown in March.
And, since beginning to see patients again in May, the unit has safely and successfully completed 1,500 operations.
Cataracts usually get slowly worse over time, so it is important that patients due to receive the surgery attend all their appointments.
It is the most-common procedure worldwide and, according to the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO), the number of people in the UK needing this operation is set to double by 2035.
And the Bucks team is planning to kick-start the next phase of recovery with an intensive project which will see the trust deliver 500 operations in just two weeks.
Following this, and building on the success of a pilot project alongside Vanguard Healthcare Solutions in 2019; a bespoke standalone theatre has been built to enable the team to perform an additional 4,000 cataract operations over the next year, as well as offer 2,000 additional appointments for patients.
The first of these operations will take place this month with the aim, within a year, to have worked through the trust’s current cataract surgery waiting list.
The operating theatre was designed and installed by Vanguard and Alcon, which worked closely with the trust’s ophthalmology team to create a tailored solution for tackling the cataract surgery waiting list.
Simon Squirrell, national sales manager at Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, said: “We have worked closely with the teams at Alcon and the trust to create a bespoke ophthalmic hub which not only provides a mobile theatre environment for the trust’s clinical teams to perform cataract procedures, but also self-contained patient reception and staff facilities, entirely tailored to meet the hospital’s needs.”
Sarah Maling, a consultant ophthalmologist and joint lead for the cataract service at the trust, added: “We are well known for delivering an excellent cataract service and have managed to deliver over 1,000 successful cataract operations during the last lockdown.
“We have been supported by NHS England to establish a stand-alone cataract facility and we are delighted with this support and look forward to continuing to care for all of our patients during these challenging times.”