Additional funding provided to address healthcare waiting lists on the Island

Friday, 21 October 2022

Manx Care will receive £18.3 million of Government funding to continue its work to reduce the Island’s Orthopaedic, Ophthalmology and General Surgery waiting lists. This follows a Supplementary Vote tabled by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on Tuesday during the October sitting of Tynwald.

The funding will support the delivery of Phase Two of Manx Care’s ‘Restoration and Recovery of Elective Activity’ programme which is already underway in conjunction with clinicians from Synaptik, Manx Care’s strategic partner in this activity.

The funding for this activity will be ring-fenced by the DHSC and will sit separately from Manx Care’s annual budget.

Restoration and Recovery of Elective Activity programmes are being delivered in NHS Trusts across the UK as well as here on the Isle of Man, and aim to reduce healthcare waiting lists by utilising private healthcare providers to work alongside in-house teams and supplement the capacity they have to offer appointments and operations. Prior to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare waiting lists on the Isle of Man were lengthy with no clear plan in place to focus on reducing these. However, this was only exacerbated further by the pandemic and, when Manx Care came into existence on 01 April 2021, it made a clear commitment to reduce waiting lists across a number of clinical specialities. Orthopaedic, General Surgery and Ophthalmology have the largest numbers of patients waiting for surgery, with each specialty reporting more than a 52-week average wait time.

In August 2021, £1.86 million was awarded to Manx Care to fund Phase One of the programme. This activity began in October 2021, and has achieved the delivery of:

  • 115 orthopaedic hip and knee surgeries
  • 458 endoscopic procedures (resulting in an average waiting list time of less than six weeks)
  • Over 350 ophthalmic cataract operations (patients returned home on the same day)

In addition, average length of stay following orthopaedic surgery was reduced from four days to around 1.5 days. With the exception of the Endoscopy activity which was delivered by Manx Care’s own in-house teams utilising surplus theatre capacity across weekend periods, the ophthalmology and orthopaedic activity was delivered from the Private Patient’s Unit at Noble’s Hospital led by Manx Care’s in-house teams, in partnership with clinicians from Synaptik.

The full £18.3 million of funding covering the Phase Two activity will see around 3,800 surgical procedures (approximately 760 orthopaedic, 940 general surgery and 2,090 ophthalmology) delivered between now and the end of Q1 in the 2023/24 financial year subject to winter pressures, staff capacity and supply of consumables. Delivery of this activity will reduce the total waiting time for these three specialties to an average of 52 weeks or less.

Teresa Cope, CEO of Manx Care, commented:

'Reducing waiting lists continues to be a key focus for Manx Care, and so the overall funding envelope of £18.3 million that has been awarded in the October sitting of Tynwald will allow us to continue addressing the backlog of elective surgery that we have at pace, and prevent patients from having to wait any longer than they have already for surgeries that are needed to improve their quality of life. It will also bring the inpatient and day case waiting lists down to acceptable levels for Manx Care to manage sustainably moving forward. We have already seen a significant reduction in our waiting lists during the first phase of this programme of work, which in turn has had a significant impact on the quality of life of our patients, and I am confident we will continue to see this during this next phase of work.'

Minister for Health and Social Care, Rob Callister MHK, added:

'Tynwald’s approval of this supplementary vote for £18.3 million reaffirms the commitment in Our Island Plan to address waiting times for services. We recognise that the longer someone is on a waiting list, the higher the risk that their condition could worsen, and therefore I very much welcome this news. Long waiting lists have a negative impact on patients’ overall wellbeing, so if we can address these issues quicker we are supporting a vision where residents are able to live long, healthy and fulfilling lives.

'I would like to express my thanks to colleagues across Manx Care, the Department and other partners for their continued support on this important programme of work.'

Ken Patrick, Managing Director of Synaptik, Manx Care’s strategic outsourcing partner covering Orthopaedic, General Surgery and Ophthalmology activity, concluded:

'Synaptik are delighted to be working as a strategic partner with Manx Care on this transformative venture, showcasing how a tailored solution, delivered in collaboration, can tackle the waitlist challenges on the Isle of Man. By delivering high quality outcomes for patients, we play our role in improving the quality of patients’ lives and are delighted to be part of the exceptional team delivering this to the residents of the Isle of Man.'

Footnote: An advance of £5 million was granted in September from the Healthcare Transformation Fund to begin the Phase Two activity, ahead of the Supplementary Vote covering the full £18.3 million total required to deliver this work. This has, to date, allowed a further 101 orthopaedic surgeries and a further 150 cataract surgeries to be undertaken. Manx Care anticipates that the remainder of the £5 million advance funding will deliver 200 further orthopaedic surgeries, 500 cataract surgeries and around 220 other surgical procedures. Following the Supplementary Vote, £5 million of the £18.3 million granted will be repaid to the Healthcare Transformation Fund.

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