Ops centre will open in 2025 to help cut waiting lists

Plans have been approved for a new £49.9 million Elective Centre at Southmead Hospital, which will provide capacity for an additional 6,500 operations a year to be carried out.

The state-of-the-art centre will benefit patients across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) and is planned to open in spring 2025. The plans have received approval from the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England.

It will provide additional capacity for North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) to support each trust’s elective (planned care) recovery plans. The two Bristol hospitals will work in harmony to provide high quality, safe and effective treatment and care.

The standalone facility will feature four surgical theatres and 40 beds for patients to recover, as well as 12 medirooms (where patients prepare for, and recover from, surgery) and x-ray facilities, and will mainly be used for orthopaedic procedures. The additional capacity will also enable more patients to be seen in existing theatres sooner for a range of other specialties.

The centre will bring together the skills and expertise of staff under one roof, reducing waiting times for some of the most common procedures such as hip and knee replacements.

As the centre will be separated from emergency services, surgical beds will be kept free for patients waiting for planned operations, reducing the risk of short-notice cancellations. 

Professor Tim Whittlestone, chief medical officer at NBT, said: “We’re delighted that our Elective Centre plans have received approval, and we look forward to work starting.  

“The centre will provide capacity for an additional 6,500 operations a year to be carried out, benefiting patients across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.”

Stuart Walker, chief medical officer and deputy chief executive at UHBW, said: “Our organisations are working together to develop plans to ensure there are mutual benefits for both Trusts’ services, so that more people can be cared for as quickly as possible. The Elective Centre will support both Trusts to reduce waiting times for elective procedures.”

There are 94 established elective surgical hubs across the NHS in England. In addition, 37 new hubs have been approved for development through the national Targeted Investment Fund (TIF) process, including the Elective Centre in Bristol.

NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board (ICB) director of performance and delivery, Lisa Manson, said: “Tackling the planned care backlog that built up during the pandemic remains a high priority for our health and care system and we are working hard to reduce the number of people who experience longer waits for treatment. ”