Overview of service development in 2019/20
Rochdale Care Organisation played a pivotal role in Greater Manchester during the COVID-19 pandemic stepping up to take on as many essential operations, including cancer surgery, as possible to assist other hospitals who needed to postpone surgery and concentrate on their COVID-19 responses.
In order to do this, Rochdale Infirmary remodelled its services to become a ‘green site,’ which means there are no COVID-19 patients operated on in theatres there, so the risk of infection is minimal.
Keeping Rochdale Infirmary’s operating theatres open in the pandemic has meant that patients requiring essential surgery, including thousands of cancer patients, have still been treated.
Patients from across Greater Manchester have been able to come to Rochdale to have their planned care in theatre, the day surgery unit, surgical ward, outpatients, vaccinations, ophthalmology and rheumatology.
Up to the end of July 2021 over 8,600 surgeries have been carried out in total (6,400 surgeries in 20/21 as well as and additional nearly 2,200 surgeries in April, May and June).
The ‘green site’ at Rochdale is an example of how, in common with all NHS Trusts, the NCA has found new ways of working to ensure those in the most need can still be treated. This included the development of an award winning cancer hub.
Infection control measures are very strict at the hospital theatres and all surgical patients are isolated and tested for COVID-19 prior to any treatment. Hospital staff are regularly tested before work, and on site everyone must wear a mask, socially distance at all times, and use hand sanitiser, despite the relaxation of the rules in wider society.
Keeping the theatres open and safe has meant that we’ve been able to help patients who have been very frightened about not receiving treatment during the pandemic, and we’ve been able to help and make a real difference to their lives.
The Rochdale surgical hub has been operational since the first week of the pandemic, and is staffed by surgeons and anaesthetists from across our Northern Care Alliance NHS Group.
Staff usually based at our Bury, Oldham and Salford Care Organisations have been very flexible and supportive, volunteering to work in the hub and being temporarily redeployed.
"The team at Rochdale remains to be outstanding in providing an excellent environment for complex sports trauma work and the culture for learning and making things happen is reflected by their ‘can do’ attitude!"
"Seriously though the usual suspects at Rochdale continue to make it one of the friendliest and most efficient theatre suites I have had the privilege to work in! Thoroughly professional and proactive from top to bottom."
Establishing the High Volume Low Complexity centre at Rochdale has been identified as a priority for 2021/22.
This decision has been taken to help address the challenge to restore services, meet new care demands and reduce the care back logs that are a direct consequence of the pandemic.
This will also support staff recovery as well as helping to address inequalities in access, experience and outcomes for patients.
The HVLC programme will be funded through the H1 financial regime and by access to additional growth funding, through the Elective Recovery Fund.
This supports HVLC surgery in specialties targeted according to local needs, including orthopaedics, ophthalmology, urology, ENT, gynaecology and general surgery. These specialties typically represent over half of surgical waiting lists.
A paper discussing the development of HVLC at Rochdale has been approved at the NCA’s EMC, with the request to develop this as a major change programme.
The programme principles are:
- Focus at system level to drive equity of access and excellent clinical outcomes for the population through standardisation of pathways and adoption of best practice
- Drive for ‘top decile’ GIRFT performance of clinical outcomes, productivity and equity of access
- Standardised procedure level clinical pathways agreed across all care organisations/providers within a system, developed or tailored for local needs by Clinical Reference Groups supported by professional societies
- Establish Fast Track Surgical Hubs where possible within each system for the high volume elective procedures
- Agree principles for working across clinical and operational groups e.g. theatre principles.
Based on these principles, Rochdale and Trafford have been selected by GM as the Fast Track Surgical Hubs where HVLC will be embedded.
Rochdale Infirmary is CQC rated as Good (last report 7 Feb 2020) and you can find out more about that rating on the CQC website here.