The orthopaedic team at Forth Valley Royal Hospital achieved more than 80 per cent of normal activity for elective surgery during the coronavirus crisis – making it the top-performing unit in the country when measured against standard activity.
Waiting lists have reduced significantly as a result.
Knee and hip replacement operations are two of the most successful surgical procedures and provide life-changing improvements to immobility and joint pain for most recipients.
NHS Forth Valley achieved 83.9 per cent of standard pre-pandemic activity, one of only three units in Scotland to have completed more than half of their usual hip and knee replacement workload between March 2020 and March 2021.
The others are NHS Fife (58.6 per cent) and the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank (54.9 per cent).
NHS Forth Valley, with only one acute hospital, has also continued to care for all emergency surgical patients and assisted a neighbouring healthboard with its hip fracture workload.
Ewan Jack, NHS FV consultant anaesthetist, said: “It is clear NHS Forth Valley has performed supremely well in providing orthopaedic care to patients.
“The number of patients waiting for an orthopaedic operation has dropped by almost a third. At the same time the number of patients waiting for an orthopaedic outpatient appointment has reduced by nearly a half from the pandemic peak.
“All those involved should be congratulated on facilitating such quality care in challenging circumstances. The team is highly motivated to expand throughput further with the creation of a new National Treatment Centre at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
“We have seen excellent examples of staff adapting and finding innovative solutions to all the obstacles and fears that Covid-19 created. With fantastic microbiology support, we kept patients safe by establishing robust pathways which separated patient streams.
“What is especially impressive is the interactions between all the different staff involved in providing this care including administration, health records and pre-op assessment staff, surgeons, theatre coordinators, theatre nurses, anaesthetists, physiotherapists and ward staff.
“These excellent results by NHS Forth Valley were achieved despite temporary reduced theatre access, theatre nurse and anaesthetic redeployment to ICU and staff illness or Covid-related absences.”