COVID-19 recovery – hospitals in Trafford and Greater Manchester

In recent weeks, the numbers of people in hospital with COVID-19 has started to fall, as have numbers of cases in the community. Covid will be with us for some time, but we hope we are moving permanently away from the intense pressure the NHS has seen over the last year.

During the pandemic, we have transformed how we provide services through various new methods, some of which include; a greater use of virtual clinics, greater collaborative working between hospital and out of hospital services and mutual aid across Greater Manchester.

We know that waiting times for elective operations have increased significantly across Greater Manchester. Therefore, we now want to prioritise treating those patients as quickly and safely as possible, so that we focus on reducing health inequalities and improve accessibility for all patients with the same clinical need, regardless of where they are being treated.

This means we need to keep some of the new ways of working we introduced during the pandemic and continue to work as part of a broader system, working in partnership with primary care, the LCOs and alongside other hospitals across Greater Manchester.

Our priority is to do two things:

1. Book in more of the patients who have been waiting for procedures, making sure we prioritise those in most need

2. Ensure, in the coming months, we contact everyone who has been waiting for longer than usual

Not all of planned care has been delayed; some was able to continue throughout the Covid period or start again during recent months, and we have been in touch with many patients already about their treatment.

However there are now six areas where we’re doing extra work as people have waited the longest:

  • Orthopaedics: for example hip and knee replacements
  • General surgery: for example gall stone removal and hernias
  • Children’s surgery: including tooth extractions
  • Ear, nose and throat: for example adenoid surgery and tonsillectomies
  • Gynaecology: for example colposcopy
  • Ophthalmology: for example cataract surgery

Our consultants will be looking at who has the greatest clinical need and who has waited the longest, and prioritising people against these two key principles as each service gets back up and running.

We may ask people to see a different consultant for their treatment or have their procedure in a different hospital to the one they expected to go to, including private hospitals in the independent sector. The reason being that some of our hospitals are still seeing more COVID-19 patients than others, and we want to treat people as quickly and safely as we can. This will help to ensure comparable waiting times across Greater Manchester for the same surgery or intervention and therefore will help reduce inequalities.

While this will bring challenges to how we work, there are significant opportunities to redesign services as part of the work towards implementing Hive EPR, working more effectively as part of a wider system and reduce inequalities for our patients. If we successfully work in this way, patients will receive their treatment sooner, meaning we will deliver improved outcomes and experiences for patients and their families.

We are all in this together – one NHS providing the best care to patients, wherever that may be.

Please see some information for members of the public and patients on the MFT website:https://mft.nhs.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/