Milestones reached as NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter helps to further reduce the region’s waiting list

Photo: The SWAOC team celebrate 100 orthopaedic procedures at the Nightingale Hospital Exeter
The SWAOC team celebrate 100 orthopaedic procedures at the Nightingale Hospital Exeter

Published: 16 May 2022

Over 15,000 people from across Devon have now accessed facilities provided through a multitude of projects introduced at the Nightingale Hospital Exeter, helping to further reduce waiting times for certain procedures.

This includes over 100 knee and hip replacements which have been carried out by the South West Ambulatory Orthopaedic Centre (SWAOC) since the services opened at the Nightingale in March 2022.

Ann Newbury from Honiton, who was SWAOC’s one-hundredth patient, said: “I’ve waited over 3 years for my operation and I am so overwhelmed to have gotten it done. I hope that it will be life changing for me. The Nightingale team were absolutely wonderful – I can’t praise the staff there enough – thank you all so much.”

Dr Mary Stocker, a consultant anaesthetist at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and Joint Clinical Lead for SWAOC said: “We are delighted to meet this milestone – the Nightingale really is helping us to reduce waiting times across Devon. So far, over half of patients having hip or knee surgery return home the same day and all are home by the following day, making SWAOC the best of its kind for day case rates in the UK. We are really delighted with the impact we are having and the results that we’re seeing, not just across orthopaedics but across the Nightingale’s other services too.”

Dr Andrew Redfern, a consultant musculoskeletal radiologist at the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Clinical Lead for the Devon Diagnostics Centre at the Nightingale said: “Diagnostic, orthopaedic and ophthalmology testing services have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite our very best efforts, our waiting lists have grown. We are delighted to have this dedicated facility, which is helping us to better prioritise our most urgent patients and those who have been waiting the longest.”

Nic Mathieu, lead nurse at the Nightingale said: “The feedback we get from our patients is wonderful. Many of them have been on a waiting list for some time. Hearing from patients about how their life will change following their procedure is really very special, and it’s a real privilege to be a part of the team that makes such a difference to the people living across Devon.”

The NHS Nightingale Exeter originally opened as a COVID-19 hospital to support the country’s response to the first wave of the pandemic. After being decommissioned as a COVID hospital, the Nightingale was purchased by organisations across the South West and in May 2021, it was announced that the Nightingale would receive a share of national funding to support the reduction in waiting times. The Nightingale is now able to offer a range of orthopaedic, ophthalmology, diagnostic and rheumatology services to local people.