Northern Ireland

NI hospital day surgery shake-up plan announced

Health professionals Image copyright Reuters

The next stage in the planned shake-up of day surgery organisation has been announced by the Department of Health.

Last October, it was revealed that day case surgery hubs would do all planned surgeries for cataracts and varicose veins.

It is part of the transformation of health care in the Bengoa report.

The department plans to adopt the same approach across specialties including general surgery, urology, gynaecology, orthopaedics and paediatrics.

Groups including clinicians will take forward plans in areas including identifying preferred sites for the centres.

The work will help inform a regional model for day case surgery and it is hoped it will be the subject of a public consultation before the end of 2019.

By December 2020, the department aims to transfer more than 100,000 day cases, 25,000 endoscopies and 8,000 paediatric procedures to the new model.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Richard Pengelly is the permanent secretary at the Department of Health

The Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health, Richard Pengelly, said elective care centres are a key part of tackling hospital waiting times.

"All too often, at present, routine surgery has to be postponed because hospital theatres are needed for urgent and emergency cases," said Mr Pengelly.

"By creating day surgery hubs on standalone sites away from 24-hour emergency departments, we can make our system more productive for the benefit of patients.

"A key issue will be the location of the centres. This will inevitably mean that some people will have to travel a bit further for their day surgery, but we will achieve significant and sustainable reductions in the waiting times for the procedures.

"Previous work suggests service users accept this trade off."

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