New operating theatre opened at Newark Hospital by representatives from NHS Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust
A new state-of-the-art operating theatre has opened at Newark Hospital today, widening the range of operations available at the site and in turn reducing waiting times.
The project received £5.6m from the NHS England’s Targeted Investment Fund, with the aim of delivering up to 2,600 more operations and procedures each year.
Members of the Hospital’s theatres team were joined by representatives from across Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust to officially open the theatre, ahead of the first operations taking place from next week (November 6).
There will be a separation from the emergency work delivered at King’s Mill Hospital, which will allow surgical teams at Newark Hospital to focus on planned procedures in the new theatre.
Operations will focus on delivering more ‘orthopaedic’ activity, mainly focusing on the simpler hip, knee, hand and wrist procedures — including total hip and knee replacements.
Additional slots for general surgery, breast surgery, gynaecology and ophthalmology will also be available across the new theatre complex.
The new theatre, which sits alongside the hospital’s two existing theatres, has been built with both patients and colleagues in mind.
It uses a laminar flow system of pressurisation, meaning that filtered, clean air is always flowing into the room and pushing any stale or contaminated air out, creating a sterile atmosphere and reducing the risk of infection.
Mr Bala Srinivasan, consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon, will be the first to carry out procedures in the new theatre from next week.
He said: “Not only are be able to offer more procedures a year, we’re also able to offer a wider range of procedures.
“We will mostly be carrying out high-volume, low-complexity procedures which means we can cut down on waiting times at the main hospitals for more emergency work and people can be treated closer to home.
“Because we are an elective hub, patients can choose to come here without adding to the pressures of other hospitals and be taken care of straight away.
“Newark is an important part of the Sherwood Forest Hospitals family and Newark Hospital is an important part of this community.
“We know there is a strong level of support here and that is why we want to continue to develop it further.”
The extra theatre on site also means that the Hospital is less affected by cancellations which can occur due to winter pressures, industrial action or patients who need emergency surgery.
There are minimal distances between each stage of the patient journey from check in, to theatre, recovery and discharge to make the whole process as efficient as possible and a further 30 members of staff have been hired to support the new theatre.
It forms part of a wider improvements plan at Newark Hospital, which includes work to upgrade facilities within two existing treatment rooms and the medical day case unit, with work is due to finish on these in early 2024.
80 car parking spaces for staff are also under construction, in order to free up spaces in the general car park for visitors and patients.
David Ainsworth, director of strategy and partnerships at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said: “We are really excited to have opened this new purpose-built theatre suite.
“It will mean more patients can get the treatment they need and get back to living a fuller life, faster.
“Patients who are generally fit and well and meet the criteria to have their operation at Newark Hospital will automatically be offered an appointment here.
“This is not about moving services away from places like King’s Mill Hospital, it’s about creating brand new operating slots which allow us to expand the offer here at Newark Hospital, providing the same high-quality care and treatment from our skilled, knowledgeable, dedicated and friendly teams as they would elsewhere.
“This is great news for the people of Newark and the surrounding areas, but also for our Newark Hospital colleagues working across a range of teams. It will provide greater job satisfaction, helping us to attract and retain the very best colleagues.”
Patients living in the district will be encouraged to ‘ask for Newark’ when speaking with their GP in order to take advantage of the extra appointments and range of treatments at Newark Hospital.
Paul Robinson, trust chief executive, said: “It’s really important that local people are able to access operations and procedures locally.
“A lot of people in and around Newark have told us that they don’t want to have to travel to Nottingham, King’s Mill or Lincoln and so this new theatre is a really important step in providing those services.
“We want to get the message out there that people can ask for Newark, instead of them feeling they have to go elsewhere.
“What is available now, with the expanded range of services, is an indication of the investment taking place at their local hospital.”
Claire Ward, trust chairman, said: “This has been an incredibly fast moving project, in that within a year or so we were able to bid for additional funding of over five and a half million pounds and have seen this state-of-the-art facility constructed, with the first operations starting next week.
“On behalf of the board, all out staff and contractors, I am delighted that it has been completed so quickly.”