Yeovil Hospital celebrates important milestone in new operating theatre


Yeovil Hospital celebrates important milestone in new operating theatre

Yeovil Hospital is one step closer to getting a fifth theatre as our chair Colin Drummond was joined by clinicians and managers for a special topping out ceremony.

Cara Hatcher, a senior operating department practitioner at the hospital, was handed the all-important task of tightening the final bolt during the ceremony.

The new theatre, which is expected to specialise mainly in orthopaedic operations, is set to open in summer 2025, with a brand 20-bedded ward also opening next year, to accommodate the patients operated on in the new theatre.

Funding for the £15 million joint development came from NHS England’s elective care recovery fund, which is money allocated to NHS trusts following the COVID-19 pandemic to bring waiting lists down.

The fifth theatre development came about following a rise in the length of our waiting list after the pandemic, as well as the predicted growth in the number of patients who’re likely to need our care in the future.

Mr Matthew Hall, one of our orthopaedic consultants at Yeovil Hospital, says: “We’ve seen across the country how patients have been waiting a long time for operations, and this sort of development will go a long way to helping address this.

“We’re aiming for our team of surgeons to use the theatre to perform a high volume of orthopaedic operations every day, and once the new ward opens alongside next year, it’ll have more of an ‘orthopaedic hub’ feel at the hospital, which will only help us to provide patients with better access to orthopaedic care.

“It’s a really exciting time for Yeovil Hospital with the many developments taking place, such as the day theatre that opened last year, the ongoing construction of our new breast cancer unit and diagnostic centre, and this fifth operating theatre fits really nicely into this.”

The 20-bedded orthopaedic and planned care ward, which is part of the same development, is expected to open in 2025.

Matthew continues: “The new ward has been designed in an ‘L’ shape with the inpatients being cared for overnight towards the back of the ward, and day surgery patients nearer the front.

“We’ve deliberately ensured that four of bed spaces are for trolleys rather than beds, as where clinically appropriate, we’re aiming to get as many patients home on the same after their surgery, rather than admit them to hospital.

“We’ll also be able to assign colleagues to the ward who have specialist skills in orthopaedic care, which should create a really positive working relationship between our nurses, therapists and doctors – very much as part of the multidisciplinary team.

“The area will have a gym space for rehabilitation too, helping patients to avoid a stay in hospital and giving them all the rehab they need for when they return home, so that they’re less likely to need to be readmitted to hospital.

“Our ambition is for the environment on the ward to feel like a tranquil space for patients to recover from their surgery, rather than being cared for in a busy emergency or medical ward setting.”

Vinay Takwale, medical director at NHS England South West, says: "This investment will enable hardworking clinicians to develop innovative pathways to increase day surgery, carry out more procedures every day, reducing waiting lists and giving patients better access to orthopaedic care."

Clifford Kinch, Area Director for Morgan Sindall Construction in the South, added: “Helping public sector organisations to address challenges such as an increased demand for services is a big part of what we do at Morgan Sindall. We’re pleased to be celebrating progress on this project at Yeovil Hospital which is set to transform the way orthopaedic care is delivered through this new facility.

“The design has been carried out to make the ward an inviting space for both patients and staff, with logistics and comfort considered in tandem to help keep things running smoothly while providing a facility where the best possible care can be carried out. We’re looking forward to delivering this high-quality facility for Yeovil Hospital which patients will benefit from for years to come.”