Elective operations which were due to take place at Noble’s today and tomorrow (14 & 15 October) are being re-scheduled to allow for the installation of essential new equipment in the operating theatres.
Patients whose operations have had to be postponed this week will be kept informed of plans to reschedule their procedures, and this is expected to be within the next two weeks. Emergency, trauma and obstetrics cases will continue.
State-of-the-art operating tables and other new associated equipment are to be installed and commissioned by specialists from the UK, whose visit to the Island to carry out the work has been delayed due to the pandemic. The two-day period offers a window of opportunity to complete the installation and prepare and train staff in use of the new equipment. This is an essential process to provide modern, re-equipped operating theatres at Noble’s, keeping the changeover period as short as possible.
The hospital’s elective surgery programme may continue to run at a reduced level for up to six weeks as a result of the ongoing shortage of specialist theatre staff due to unfilled vacancies and sickness absence among staff. Manx Care will continue to clinically prioritise all activity and ensure urgent and emergency and time-sensitive operations, including cancer operations, are prioritised.
The situation will be monitored and reviewed by Manx Care’s senior leadership team on a weekly basis, with planned activity matched to available resources.
In addition, Manx Care is considering options to offer some elective patients the opportunity to have their operations at UK centres, whilst further efforts are made to recruit into the existing vacancies. Further details on the initiative to arrange appointments in the UK for Island patients will be issued soon.
Sending patients to the UK for their care which would normally be carried out on-Island, is an approach which has recently helped eliminate a backlog of two-week wait breast appointments.
Chief Executive of Manx Care Teresa Cope said:
‘Reducing some planned activity at Noble’s is not a decision we take lightly, but due to a number of circumstances it is regrettably, necessary. Our re-equipped operating theatres will provide improved facilities, but the timing of the installation of new equipment is dependent on the availability of a specialist team from our supplier.
Ms Cope added:
‘I understand the anxiety that delays to treatment can cause, and I offer my assurance that Manx Care will do everything it can to address the problems we currently face. We are working hard to recruit additional staff so that we can get on with treating patients waiting for operations, but this is proving difficult at present. NHS Trusts around the UK have similar workforce challenges, so this is not unique to the Isle of Man, though relocation to the Island adds an additional step for those we attract to pursue their careers here.’
Manx Care offers a sincere apology for any inconvenience caused to those affected by these short notice changes.