Surgical services at Nightingale benefitting people in Torbay and South Devon

Image: Southwest Ambulatory Orthopaedic Centre banner

Published: 22 April 2022

New surgical services at the NHS Nightingale Exeter (Nightingale) are already benefitting people in Torbay and South Devon, who have previously had surgery delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Robert, from Shaldon, had been on the waiting list for knee replacement surgery due to advanced osteoarthritis and ongoing pain. He was one of the first Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust patients to benefit from surgery at the centre.

Robert said of his experience: “Once I got to the centre, everything went swimmingly. All of the staff that supported me, including nurses and physiotherapists, were very good. After my surgery I was able to return home the same day.

“I was very grateful to receive my operation at the centre. I am still recovering, but the surgery will make a big difference to my life.”

Richard, who lives in Brixham, also had his knee replacement operation on the same day: “I had been waiting three and a half years for my operation, so I was delighted when I was first offered the opportunity to go to the Nightingale a few months ago.

“It was a fantastic experience in brand new facilities, I came home on the same day and it couldn’t have gone any better. I had been in a lot of pain and this will make such a difference and I can be more active.”

Dr Mary Stocker, Clinical Lead for the Southwest Ambulatory Orthopaedic Centre at NHS Nightingale Exeter and Consultant Anaesthetist at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is wonderful to hear our patients’ positive feedback about their experience. The Southwest Ambulatory Orthopaedic Centre (SWAOC) at NHS Nightingale Exeter will significantly benefit people in Torbay and South Devon, many of whom, like people all over the country, have been waiting a very long time for surgery.

“We know these surgeries are life-changing for people, reducing pain, increasing mobility and enhancing quality of life. Services and, as a result, waiting lists have been impacted by the pressures associated with the pandemic, and this is a really positive step forward as part of wider work to reduce this.

“At SWAOC we have developed really innovative new pathways which enable many of our patients to be well enough to return to their own homes on the same day as their surgery. We have drawn from the expertise of Torbay and South Devon’s nationally recognised day surgery unit, and from leading orthopaedic units across the country, to establish an orthopaedic centre which offers the patients of Devon an exemplary pathway of care.

“I know first-hand how difficult it has been for our staff not to be able to deliver the care that they know is needed. Being able to treat and care for our patients at the Nightingale is hugely important. I would urge anyone who is offered the opportunity to have their surgery at the Nightingale to accept if they are at all able to do so. You will receive excellent care and treatment from our dedicated staff and your aftercare will continue to be provided locally.”

Ian Currie, Medical Director at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am delighted that our patients and staff are now able to benefit from the new Southwest Ambulatory Orthopaedic Centre.

“The opening of the centre is a significant achievement for health and care services in Devon and builds on the close partnership working between our organisations during the pandemic. We are committed to working together to reduce our waiting lists.

“I would like to thank all of our local, regional and national colleagues who have made invaluable contributions towards getting us to this point and look forward to our continued close working. The new centre is already bringing clear and crucial benefits to people in Torbay and South Devon who are waiting for treatment.”

As well as the Southwest Ambulatory Orthopaedic Centre, the Nightingale is also now home to the following services:

  • Centre of Excellence for Eyes, which operates diagnostic screening services for ophthalmology patients and will run a high-volume cataract treatment hub
  • Devon Diagnostic Centre, which is providing CT, MRI, X-ray, ultrasound, echocardiograms and fluoroscopy services
  • Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Rheumatology department which provides outpatient care and day case infusions.

People in Torbay and South Devon are being asked to make use of the facilities at the Nightingale when offered the opportunity if possible; in particular Devon Diagnostic Centre which can provide CT, MRI and a range of other scans much sooner than waiting for a more local appointment.