More surgical hubs awarded accreditation for meeting top clinical and operational standards

A further eight elective surgical hubs have been accredited for delivering high standards in clinical and operational practice.

The scheme, run by GIRFT in collaboration with the Royal College of Surgeons of England and supported by the Royal College of Anaesthetists, assesses hubs against a framework of standards to help deliver faster access to some of the most common surgical procedures such as cataract surgeries and hip replacements. It also seeks to assure patients about the high standards of clinical care provided by the hubs.

The GIRFT team evaluated the hubs against five elements: the patient pathway, staff and training, clinical governance and outcomes, facilities and ring-fencing, and utilisation and productivity.

It is the first cohort of surgical hubs to be assessed as part of the GIRFT accreditation scheme following the initial pilot in March (2023) when eight hubs achieved accreditation.

There are around 93 hub sites currently in operation in England and the accreditation scheme is being rolled out nationally with quarterly cohorts to accredit all hubs over the next two years. While it is not mandatory for trusts to seek accreditation, the long-term goal is for every elective hub to be accredited.

Surgical hubs, which are separated from emergency services, are part of plans nationally to increase capacity for elective care with more dedicated operating theatres and beds.

The hubs exclusively perform planned surgery and mainly focus on high volume, low complexity (HVLC) surgery across various specialties including ophthalmology, general surgery, orthopaedics, gynaecology, ear nose and throat, and urology.

Some hubs are single specialty such as orthopaedic centres, while others provide services across a range of specialty areas. Some hubs also provide more complex surgery, including cancer procedures. All bring together the skills and expertise of staff under one roof, with protected facilities and theatres, helping to deliver shorter waits for surgery. The hub beds are designated for patients waiting for planned surgical procedures, and are protected from emergency admissions, reducing the risk of short-notice cancellations.

The eight newly accredited hubs are:

  • Sulis Hospital – Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS FT
  • South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre (SWLEOC) – Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Heatherwood Hospital – Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital – The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Warwick Hospital Day Surgery Unit – South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust
  • Chase Farm Hospital – Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Chapel Allerton Hospital – The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Rochdale Infirmary – Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust

“We have been impressed with the professionalism and enthusiasm of the hub teams who are delivering outstanding care. GIRFT’s focus is on developing surgical hubs with the aim of improving patient flow so that patients have shorter waits for surgery and, for some procedures, will be more likely to be able to go home on the same day.”

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